Death is only the beginning of the adventure — The IX by @WestonAndrew #books #scifi


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Title: The IX

Author: Andrew P. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Book Blurb:

Roman legionaries, far from home, lost in the mists of Caledonia.

 
A US cavalry company, engaged on a special mission, vital to the peace treaty proposed by Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln.

 
A twenty-first century Special Forces unit, desperate to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.

 
From vastly different backgrounds, these soldiers are united when they are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing. Thinking they may have been granted a reprieve, imagine their horror when they discover they have been transported to a failing planet on the far side of the galaxy, where they are given a simple ultimatum. Fight or die. Against all odds, this group of misfits manages to turn the tide against a relentless foe, only to discover the true cost of victory might exact a price they are unwilling to pay.

 
How far would you be willing to go to stay alive?

 
The IX.

 
Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure.

 

 

 

Excerpt:

The domed Hall of Remembrance was vast. Despite its size, the chamber had been cunningly designed to amplify sound. Doctor Ayria Solram’s steps rang out clearly as she walked toward a huge cenotaph-like structure that had been constructed in the exact center of the room, opposite a set of massive windows. Clicking off into the furthest reaches of the auditorium, her footfalls echoed twice about the room before fading.

 

Over fifty pairs of eyes followed her closely. That wasn’t surprising. At forty years of age, Ayria cut an imposing figure. Standing well over six feet tall, she matched the stature of most of the men now staring at her in wide-eyed admiration. Ayria wore her waist length, midnight blue hair in a no-nonsense braid which didn’t hide the fact that her mane was glorious. Curling over her shoulder and across her torso like a well-fed python, it captured attention whenever she moved.

 

Her smooth, softly tanned skin and dark eyes were in stark contrast to the sterile white lab coat she wore. Nevertheless, the overall effect was striking.

 

Indicating the monument with a sweep of her arms, she said, “Now, this should be of particular interest to you. This is called the Reverence.”

 

All faces turned to study the twenty-foot high monolith. Fashioned from a richly veined slab of rock, it appeared to be seamless, and resonated gently from all four sides with a softly pulsing, blue phosphorescence. The top of the structure was formed into a trapezoid, upon which rested a glowing sphere.

 

Aryia pointed to it. “The light you see is not just a power source. It’s also an indicator, intimately linked to the life energies of every living soul currently residing on Arden. Your esoteric signatures were added shortly after you arrived here, and as you can see, the device is glowing with a gentle aquamarine radiance.”

 

Gesturing around the outer edge of the hall, she drew the crowd’s attention to a number of astonishing bas-reliefs which had been cut directly into the fabric of the wall. Stretching from floor to ceiling, each was of a similar size and gave the impression that the open leaves of a gigantic tome had been superimposed onto the rock.

 

A small dais had been erected before each frieze, upon which an artifact or plaque had been positioned, highlighted by a softly humming radiance.

 

“Are those the names of refugees I can see on the pages?” Marcus Brutus asked, astonished by the sheer volume of people who had been taken from their homes.

 

“I’m afraid not,” Ayria replied. “While it is true that the Architect has relocated literally thousands of us over the years, the lists you see here represent our dear brothers and sisters who have fallen to the Horde.”

 

A palpable shock ran through the entire group.

 

“Are you serious?” spluttered James Houston. “But there are . . . thousands. How many names are up there, lady?”

 

“Just Ayria, please. Or Doctor. In answer to your question, the sacrifice of over twenty-one thousand souls has been recorded here. When someone dies, the Reverence registers the missing life force and turns red for an entire day. It also burns their name into a corresponding page.”

 

“Holy God!” Houston  turned to stare at a young cavalry officer standing next to him. Addressing him, Houston whispered, “We’ve got to stick together, Wilson. Just you and me. Watch each other’s backs.”

 

Some of the other men standing close by glared at the pair in disdain.

 

“If I may ask a question, Ayria?” Marcus interjected. “How is it that I, a humble soldier of Rome, can read and understand this writing? I recognize it as a form I have never witnessed before, yet I find myself comprehending its meaning almost instantly.”

 

“That’s due to nanotechnology,” Ayria replied. Walking toward him, she tapped the side of her own head. “Remember, the avatars explained something of the process we use here. Because a great many people are being brought together from across time, the Ardenese had to make sure we understood each other clearly. Even a single language can change radically during the course of many centuries, so they thought it best we were educated in theirs. They were a very advanced people, socially as well technologically. And because they had employed the use of artificial intelligence as a means to educate themselves for a number of decades prior to their fall, they realized the best way to help us was to adapt those tiny little machines for our use. They’re inside our brains right now, teaching us and allowing us to learn new things at a greatly accelerated rate.”

 

Marcus frowned.

 

“Have I confused you?”

 

“No, my lady, not at all. I look bewildered because I can grasp the sense of what you’re saying . . .” He turned to look about him in wonder, “. . . and yet, this is all so very strange to me.”

 

Marcus glanced toward his compatriots and shrugged. Like him, Flavius and their fellow legionnaires were still finding the adjustments difficult to cope with. They were warriors, and unaccustomed to such godlike contrivances.

 

An awkward silence ensued.

 

Seizing the moment, Mac stepped forward. “I take it each engraving represents an actual influx of candidates?”

 

A sea of faces turned to look at him. Until now, Mac and his men had kept themselves apart, content to stand quietly to one side with a group of stoic Native Americans. However, Mac had noticed how each of the lists was arranged. Pointing to the wall, he continued, “There are nine open books along the circumference. One is blank, so that must indicate us, as no one is dead yet. Therefore, the other eight obviously refer to those who have come and gone before us, yes?”

 

“Very astute. Lieutenant Alan McDonald, isn’t it?”

 

 

Buy Links:

Audio

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/IX-Book-1/dp/B01MCZ7XEU/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1478062836&sr=8-1

Audible http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-IX-Audiobook/B01MCZ83B8/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1478545349&sr=1-1

 

Digital and Print

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/IX-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1477728328&sr=8-1&keywords=The+IX

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/IX-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477728420&sr=8-1&keywords=the+ix

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ix-andrew-p-weston/1121115575?ean=9780986414008

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/The-IX/53402841

 

andrew-weston-2016

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is an ex-military ex-police expat from the UK who now lives with a large amount of cats in a medium sized house on a small Greek Island.

 

An astronomy and law graduate, he has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society, the British Science Fiction Association and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

 

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

 

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

 

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

 

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Fight or Die! Bestselling The IX Series by @WestonAndrew #FridayReads #SFF #books


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Title: The IX Series

Author: Andrew P. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

The IX Series – Blurb:

What could unite a Roman Legion and the Caledonian army they are fighting?

 

Or a US Cavalry Company with the Native American tribes arrayed against them?

 

How about a highly trained and motivated Special Forces unit and the terrorists they have been sent to wipe out at all costs?

 

Yes…

 

What could such a diverse and mutually aggressive group possibly have in common?

 

Arden – and the Horde, that’s what!

 

Arden, home to a culture that has existed for thousands of years and which spans dozens of worlds. Regardless, their sophistication cannot prevent calamity at the hands of an unstoppable nemesis. Known only as the Horde, this enemy has proven relentless. They have not only stripped the outer colonies bare, but now threaten the existence of the entire Ardenese way of life.

 

Realizing there is nothing they can do to prevent the inevitable march toward extinction, the Ardenese governing body comes to a drastic decision. They gather together at their capital city, Rhomane, and place their remaining genetic heritage in a vast underground ark, in the care of an advanced AI construct called the Architect. Its mission? To use Rhomane’s dwindling reserves and safeguard their race by reaching out across time and space toward those who might be in a position to help reseed a devastated world at some time in the future.

 

That’s how soldiers from varying eras and vastly different backgrounds find themselves together. Snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing they are transported to the far side of the galaxy. Thinking they have been granted a reprieve, their relief turns to horror when they discover they face a simple but stark ultimatum:

 

Put aside your former animosities and preconceptions in order to survive. Yes…

 

Fight or die!

 

How does this group of mismatched and antagonistic misfits fare?

 

Do they survive?

 

Find out for yourselves, in The IX Series.

 

Like them, you’ll discover death is only the beginning of an incredible adventure.

 

 

Excerpt:

For as far as his eye could see, the endless tide of rabid hunger continued to advance. They came pouring into the valley from all sides, and the entire basin was soon filled with seething, shrieking monstrosities of every conceivable shape and form. Not one of them stood under two decans in height.

 

Nearing their goal, the leading entities of the Horde howled with malice and leaped forward. Dashing their bodies against the augmented might of the battlements seemed pointless to Sariff, for the attackers achieved nothing but to spend their vitality in a blaze of explosive fury. Yet the utter futility resulting from their lack of imagination did nothing to lessen their frenzy. In spite of their comrades’ fate, wave after wave of them continued throwing themselves to their deaths in wanton abandon. So great did the overwhelming press of shadow and flame become that the repeated detonations of each attacker’s self immolation grew into one prolonged cacophony of light and heat. Despite its density, the entire breadth of the wall thrummed under the weight of the assault.

 

And still they come.

 

Sariff blanched in the face of the onslaught, witnessed here on Arden for the first time.

 

As First Magister of Rhomane City, he seized the opportunity to study the enemy closely, for his would be the deciding vote in a decision that would seal the fate of their people.

 

He shook his head in disbelief, for he could see no respite from the relentless storm threatening to engulf them.

 

Thirty planets overrun in the space of just fifteen months. More than fifty billion souls lost. A history and a culture spanning more than twelve thousand years brought to this. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. And we risk it all on an idea . . .But what choice do we have?

 

Everywhere he looked, Sariff saw only the inevitability of death. Unless, by some miracle, Calen’s gamble paid off. That thought reminded him. I’d better get a move on.

 

So mesmerized was he by the display of savagery below, he almost collided with the duty commander, Sol Beren. Sariff hadn’t heard the soldier’s silent approach, but that was understandable. The veteran warrior was a skilled tracker, renowned for keeping his men on their toes by his sudden, wraithlike appearances at different stations along the wall. Everyone marveled how he could be seen taking the lead at one post only to be spotted minutes later on the other side of the city entirely, without having used the transport pads.

 

His face a mask of determination, Beren studied the conflict before him. A cold and empty gaze reflected the bitter frustrations of a man who had seen too many men die worthless deaths.

Sariff wished there was something he could say to ease the commander’s burden. Instead, all he could ask was: “Will it hold?”

 

Buy Links:

The IX:

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/IX-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1477728328&sr=8-1&keywords=The+IX

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/IX-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477728420&sr=8-1&keywords=the+ix

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ix-andrew-p-weston/1121115575?ean=9780986414008

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/The-IX/53402841

 

Exordium of Tears:

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Exordium-Tears-IX-Andrew-Weston/dp/0996428992/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1458486718&sr=8-1&keywords=exordium+of+tears

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exordium-Tears-IX-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01AAFEU6O/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458486810&sr=1-1&keywords=exordium+of+tears

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exordium-of-tears-andrew-p-weston/1123449634?ean=9780996428996

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Exordium-of-Tears/53441852

 

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Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is an international bestselling author from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats. An astronomy and law graduate, he has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society, the British Science Fiction Association and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

 

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website : http://www.andrewpweston.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

Pinterest: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

 

 

Keeping Things Balanced: A Writing Guest Post by @WestonAndrew + a Birthday Top 10 #amwriting


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For those of you who tune in regularly to N. N. Light Author Promotions, you’ll be aware that one of my previous guest posts related to World Building. Entitled – Keeping Things Real, it highlighted my approach to the process of constructing an imaginary framework in which to set an adventure. I likened that process to preparing and cutting a rough diamond. Starting with an overview of the world I’m going to create, I begin to work from the outside in on its various facets: Where it’s situated; who its inhabitants are; what’s their history; what level of technology do they posses, and so forth and so on.

Having already covered that, this time around I thought I’d expand on Keeping Things Real, by introducing you to the next stage of my world building process:
“Keeping things balanced.”

What do I mean? People who have enjoyed The IX have often commented on the rich descriptive prose it contains. I say, “thank you” for that, because I put a lot of work into creating a visual image that the reader can connect to. I think that’s especially important when you come down to the flora and fauna of the world in which your story is set, especially if – as in The IX – your heroes and protagonists are flitting about, here and there, on one adventure or another.

So, how did I manage to keep things balanced for The IX?

That’s easy. I created visual templates to work from. The reason? Something I learned in the military. “Prior preparation and planning prevents poor performance.” Such an approach ensured I never strayed from what I originally set out to portray. For example, say hello to an early idea of what Arden – the home planet where The IX is set – should look like:

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In creating a visual reference, I give myself a template to work from. In this case – a once beautiful world that thrived under a red sun. Now recovering from the ravages of a long and bitter war, it is only just reclaiming the majesty it once had. This, and other images and sketches, helped me transpose my initial ideas into the places you read about. My aim? To ensure there was sufficient detail so that you could envision yourself there. Let me highlight what I mean.

If you’ve read The IX, you’ll no doubt remember that various members of the Ninth journeyed through the lavender grasslands of the Sengennon Strait; lost themselves in the purple-green woodlands of the Tar’e-esh forests; basked in the majesty of the Garnet Mountains. Did you ever conjure those places in your mind’s eye? Did they look anything like this?

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These are the preliminary references I used as a benchmark from which to create the full reality of Arden. (Now, don’t be fooled into thinking I only had these odd few pictures). As I hinted, I built up an extensive library of such images so that the places, the people and the technology you read about – and the ships – all contain the details you would expect in a factual reality.

Of course, when you incorporate so many elements you have to keep things to a realistic scale.

For example, I have all these pretty pictures of the places mentioned in The IX, but, just how far is it from Rhomane to the Starport, or to the Tar’e-esh Forest? How close is the astrometrics lab to the Starport itself?

As a writer, you need to know such details so that the events you describe within your narrative have that ring of authenticity. Fans will know Lieutenant Mac McDonald led a military expedition to the Starport to recover drones left there in storage. Some of his compatriots provided long-range cover from the astrometrics complex on top of Boleni Heights. Marcus Brutus headed an expeditionary force to the Shilette Abyss, a journey that took his pioneers through the Tare-esh Forest.

What were the distances involved? Over what terrain? Some used futuristic hover craft, others used horses. How long did their respective journeys take? How do you keep a track on timescales?

Have a look at the maps I devised to help me keep things in perspective.

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Even though they’re basic, I know some of you might think…“Wow! That’s a lot of detail before you even put pen to paper.” Well, I agree. It is. But remember the analogy of a rough diamond I used earlier? This amount of attention pays divides as you write the story itself. It cuts and polishes your gem of an adventure and – as I’ve said before – adds those touches here and there that can make the narrative sparkle.

And when you get a professional to back that up? (Take a look at the map included within the front section of The IX. Devised from my sketches by cover designer, Roy Mauritsen, it adds that element of shininess that makes you think of my head).

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You see, my ethic goes a little bit like this: My job is to give you – the reader – a place that you can escape to and lose yourself in. The easier it is for you to relate to the characters and visualize the world in which the story is set, then the deeper your connection, and the further your journey will take you. The further you go, the more you’ll appreciate what The IX is all about. And we’re both happy.

If you value your readers, you’ll be prepared to put the work in so that their fantasies seem so real, it’s almost as if they come true through the pages of your book. 🙂

**********

andrew-weston-2016

My name is Andrew P. Weston – though I’ve been called a lot worse by my wife when I’ve dared to say the forbidden words all women hate to hear…“No, you can’t have that.”

(Light blue touch paper and run…)

As an author, I make things up all the time. So I thought it might be a nice idea to use this “Top Ten” post to find out a little more about the real me – warts and all.

Oh really?

Yes. And we’re going to do this in a rather novel way.

What do I mean? Well, November 12th (today) is my birthday, making me a Scorpio, allegedly, one of the most mysterious signs in the zodiac. A great deal seems to be said about people born under this star sign, as exemplified by an advert my wife, Annette, spotted on a media site earlier this week.

scorpio-t-shirt

As you can see, the t-shirt is covered by quite a few astrologically based statements associated to Scorpios. But, are these statements true, or are they myth?

Let’s find out, shall we, by taking a little look at ten categories, working from the top down…

(And bearing in mind, I have to keep this rated PG –13) NO – you won’t be forced into listening to me lie about my feats of Olympian sexual athleticism.
Now, if we were talking about Greek comedy, I’m your man 😉

Has incredibly high standards

It’s true. I do have incredibly high standards. And it’s not just because I served in specialist roles within the military and police. It’s just the way I am. The thing is, it’s not one-sided either. While I do my best not to expect the impossible from people around me, I do demand those standards from myself – all the time. Which can be a real pain if things need to be done in a rush…because, you’ve guessed it…they still have to be perfect. (Bummer).

Great Kisser

As long as it’s not a certain part of other people’s anatomy…? Maybe.

(I never suck up to anybody, you see)

But if you want an honest answer, you’ll have to ask my wife. (Though everyone does comment on how happy she always looks.) I haven’t the heart to tell them that’s down to constant medication. Ah, the rigors of living with a Scorpio.

Fun fact: The Greek custom is to kiss people when greeting them and saying goodbye. I simply don’t do that. Kissing is for my wife…and my wife only.
(She’d only hunt them down anyway, and you’d never see them again. Then there’d be police, and questions, and…)

Kills haters with success and breaks them with a smile

My goodness this one is spot on. And as an author, I’ve very glad I’m a Scorpio. I’m in a position now where I’m starting to get noticed. That’s very rewarding, but it does attract the “haters”, those who want to elicit a reaction by writing / leaving inflammatory comments in things like reviews.

My advice? Never, ever respond to them openly. Let your continuing application to your craft and your motivation to improve provide the impetus to silence such scoundrels with the success that will come. Then, one day, somewhere far down the line when you’re terribly rich and famous, you can smile in secret behind the smoked glass windows of your limo and not give a fig about them at all.

Human Lie Detector

Most definitely. And here’s the weird thing, I can taste the mood of a room as soon as I walk in. I think it has something to do with one of the other categories we’ll discuss – being observant – as well as some form heightened perceptions. But it’s always been there, and it’s something I’ve always been able to do.

Imagine the fun I had in the police. As a detective, you attend all sorts of classes on human behavior and psychology. There are myriad “tells” that come in clusters that help you spot when a person is being economical with the truth.
And when you arm a Scorpio with such skills…? (Are they quite mad?)

Another fun fact: I sometimes play a little game when my wife and I go to parties. Spot the Walter – Walter Mitty – those charming characters who couldn’t be honest if their lives depended on it and are always out to impress with exaggerations and complete fabrication.

(Not that I do this all the time, of course, but it certainly helps liven the more tedious evenings up).

Introvert – but can socialize like an extrovert

This is spookily true with a capital spoo.

When many of my friends first got to know me, they never realized I’m an introvert. But that’s down to the way I can flip a switch in my head if I “feel” in the mood, or the circumstances are right.

Remember those police courses I mentioned? Like everyone else, I always thought there were introverts and extroverts. Full stop.

It turns out; there are introverted introverts; extroverted introverts; introverted extroverts; and extroverted extroverts…and all sorts of sub-categories in-between.
I’m an extroverted introvert. When I walk into a room of people I don’t know, you wouldn’t actually realize I was there. I’ll blend into the background and flit from shadow to shadow as if I don’t exist. But, if I meet someone I click with? Lights – camera – action! Cast of Annie, eat your hearts out. (Minus the ridiculously curly ginger hair of course)…

Observant

Yup! As with the lie detector category, it’s one of those things I have always had a knack for. And again, my previous occupations helped enhance that skill and turn it into something rather exceptional.

In the military, in particular, you had to notice all sorts of little details that other people tend to overlook. And thank goodness, for it kept me alive on a number of occasions.

You can imagine how this helped as a police officer too. I served in a crime management & intelligence bureau for a number of years where it was essential to spot patterns that others had missed. Interesting work and sooo satisfying, bringing baddies who thought they’d gotten away with it, to justice.

Want a fun fact: Although life gets quieter, you never lose the knack. I have to be very patient, especially at this time of year leading up to Christmas when I pretend I’m not paying attention to Annette’s unsubtle HINTS about certain items of clothing, jewelry, DVDs, or the music she likes. Hee hee.

It really does take a lot of discipline, as her little face sometimes screws up in frustration, thinking her suggestions have gone over my head…

(But the look on her face when she opens her presents and realizes I was paying attention all along? Priceless) All together now, aaaah.

Very good sense of humor

True, true, true, true, true! My humor is so intergalactically broad you could fly starships along it. The trouble is, it’s often gotten me into trouble too. My working environment didn’t help in this regard. Serving in the military and police force hones your humor. You have to be thick-skinned, broad-shouldered, trigger-fast and snappy just to survive. But, oh boy is it worth it. I’d love to expand, but this is PG-13.

Private – occasional loner

It’s like someone has been following me around. True again.

My wife and I have lived in Kos, one of the smaller Greek islands in the Dodecanese, for eight years now. We have a small circle of friends, both Greek and British. While most know all there is to know about Annette, very few are aware of the exact nature of my previous occupations, the places I’ve been, or the things I’ve done. Many people here don’t even realize I write books now, or that they’ve been international #1 bestsellers. (True).

I mix when I want to, and don’t feel the overwhelming need to regularly attend coffee mornings just to be sociable. I’m not being rude or standoffish, I just like to keep myself and my business to myself…which makes it a bit difficult doing things like this, eh?

Still, I can hide behind my screen. It has sandbags and barbed wire and a trench. And laser cannons. Why would I want to come out?

Fun fact: When we meet new people, they often complain that we end up talking about “them” all the time and they haven’t had the chance to find out anything about us.
(Just the way I like it).

Wants to be the best at everything

Myth. Though I can see the misconception.

I think it relates back to the #1 item about the standards expected of me. Ever since I was little, I was pushed to succeed. From the age of 4, I attended swimming training every morning before school. That bled over into other sports. By the time I joined the military, I’d represented my school, college and county (I think the American equivalent is a “state”) at rugby, swimming, athletics and various martial arts. I’d also been selected for international trials at two of those disciplines.
It was the same academically. I have a voracious thirst for knowledge and could read before I attended school. Add to that a sticky mind, and it was little wonder I managed to eat my way through various scientific curriculums, my chief subjects being mathematics, physics, astronomy – and in later life – criminal law.
To be honest, I don’t think its wanting to be the best so much, as wanting to do my best. If I start a project, be it learning a new language or picking up a new skill, I never give anything less than 100 %. As a child, teenager, young adult and now – apprentice doddery old fart – I’ve never been any other way (You can probably see that from the preparation and detail I devote to my stories).
While I appreciate some might think such an outlook adds a lot of needless pressure to life, I look on it as being normal.

Hell, I’m nearly 56, but I still train every day and teach martial arts on top of all the other stuff I do. Life’s for living. I’ll rest when I’m dead.

Question: The pulsating vein I have on the side of my head…Is that normal or down to the excessive amounts of medication I imbibe?

Protective of the ones I love

So true it hurts.

Not to be nasty, you understand, but you do not want to make my wife or children feel threatened. You just don’t…Not ever. Think about what I used to do. I would gladly serve prison time to even a debt if the magnitude was serious enough…That’s all I’ll say. The end. Goodbye.

So, there you go. A little look at the truth behind astrological myth. I can honestly say I’ve never paid much attention to things like astrology. I’m too levelheaded. However, having realized how accurate this picture is, I might just change my mind J

Until the next time you visit my asylum, do take care…

ix-audiobooklarge

Title: The IX

Author: Andrew P Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Perseid Press

Book Blurb:
The IX:

Roman legionaries, far from home, lost in the mists of Caledonia.

A US cavalry company, engaged on a special mission, vital to the peace treaty proposed by Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln.

A twenty-first century Special Forces unit, desperate to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.

From vastly different backgrounds, these soldiers are united when they are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing. Thinking they may have been granted a reprieve, imagine their horror when they discover they have been transported to a failing planet on the far side of the galaxy, where they are given a simple ultimatum. Fight or die. Against all odds, this group of misfits manages to turn the tide against a relentless foe, only to discover the true cost of victory might exact a price they are unwilling to pay.

How far would you be willing to go to stay alive?

The IX.

Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure.

Excerpt:

Ephraim entered another cipher into the console before him. All three main wall screens skipped channels to present a series of starkly different vistas. A palpable shock ran through the entire gathering. Several people gasped out loud.

The first monitor showed the rim of a burnished orange-red sun emerging from behind the bulk of a majestic disc. The star’s corona burned brightly, casting a warm scarlet glow through the upper reaches of the atmosphere of the world below it. The planet itself appeared etched in liquid flame around its edges, while the majority of its mass was cast in mystery and shadow.

The middle display revealed a similar scene but from a different perspective, this one being positioned above the terminator of sunrise and sunset. To the left of the picture, cotton-candy clouds swirled through a sea of sapphire-blue radiance. The crystal lens of the expanse was infused with vaporous trails of soul-wrenching tranquility. On the right, darkness dominated. Ebbing reluctantly under the relentless advance of dawn, it gradually surrendered its secrets. Noctilucent particles manifested themselves amongst the gloom, followed closely by the tallest mountain summits. Like beacons, they revealed tantalizing glimpses of the glory to come.

The final screen faced out into a Jovian sea of purple-blue grandeur. An ocean of midnight silk upon which the luminescence of a billion astral sprites had been cast in random abandon. Each pinprick blazed coldly with an unadulterated purity that struck the hearts and minds of the gathered assembly with the force of a sledgehammer.

Captivated, Ephraim became lost in the moment. Somewhere out there, a lifetime away, our real home sails serenely through the heavens . . . How ignorant we were of the dangers that exist, just a cosmic stone’s-throw away.

“Are these satellites able to show us Arden in greater detail?” Marcus asked. “What is the term you use? Can they . . . zoom in and remain clear?”

“They can indeed, my friend. For example . . . .”

Ephraim presented them with a vision of remarkable scope. A solitary peak pierced the night. Protruding toward the sunlight like a symbol of hope, its alpine cap strained to free itself from the twilight mists congealing about its slopes in a miasma of serpentine possessiveness.

The image wavered, and a closer view of that same pinnacle resolved itself. Now, the cobalt-blue frown of a granite leviathan stood forth in pristine clarity, peeking out from hoarfrost-covered brows. A snowy crown adorned the apex, and where the rock face greeted the dawn, it glittered cruelly, burning as if the entire edifice were ablaze within a skein of ice and flames.

Above the slopes on one side, a huge bird of prey stretched its wings and soared amid the very epitome of serenity sublime made manifest.

Everyone leaned forward. Ephraim chose that moment to switch satellites.

A contrasting swathe of undulating greens and blues made everyone start. The picture flickered and intensified. The panorama scrolled across verdant forests, swaying grasslands, and undulating plains. The luxuriant fertility of the temperate zones faded as the scanners moved on, toward the equatorial region.

The gaping chasm of the Shilette Abyss hove into view. Once there, Ephraim manipulated the controls to skim east. Less than a minute later, he held position above a point where the two sides of the canyon seemed to bulge toward each other. Changing resolution, he smoothly zoomed in to present a live-time image of the mining site from less than two hundred feet up. People could clearly be seen, walking to and fro about their business.

Marcus suppressed a laugh.

Several others cheered.

Mohammed and Saul stared at each other, the implications of this latest development written clearly across their faces.

“These places you’re showing us appear remarkably bounteous and free of infestation,” Saul commented. “Do you think this confirms our latest suspicions? That something here in the city appears to be the Horde’s target, and they’ve congregated in one location to get it?”

“Hazarding a guess? I’d say that was highly likely. But we can discuss that at tomorrow’s briefing. By then, we’ll have uploaded the specs of the rotational frequencies that Mac and his team use. Combining them to the already existing filters the satellites employ will give us an accurate assessment of exactly where on the planet our enemy is congregating. Be in no doubt — the addition of the Satcom-net will provide us with a huge tactical advantage we never dreamed of.”

“Such as?”

Ephraim scanned through the contents of his personal screen again. Then he glanced back at Brent and Asa. Each of them was privy to the information it contained, and both were grinning like maniacs.

Buy Links:

Now available in Audio:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/IX-Book-1/dp/B01MCZ7XEU/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1478062836&sr=8-1

Audible http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-IX-Audiobook/B01MCZ83B8/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1478545349&sr=1-1

E-book and Print:

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/IX-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/IX-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ix-andrew-p-weston/1121115575?type=eBook

B&N Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ix-andrew-p-weston/1121115575

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is an ex-military ex-police expat from the UK who now lives with a large amount of cats in a medium sized house on a small Greek Island.

An astronomy and law graduate, he has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society, the British Science Fiction Association and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

Publisher: Perseid Press

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

 

Listen to the International Bestseller The IX by @WestonAndrew #ScienceFiction #Audible


ix-audiobooklarge

 

Title: The IX Audiobook

Author: Andrew P Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Book Blurb:

Roman legionaries, far from home, lost in the mists of Caledonia.

A US cavalry company, engaged on a special mission, vital to the peace treaty proposed by Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln.

A twenty-first century Special Forces unit, desperate to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.

From vastly different backgrounds, these soldiers are united when they are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing. Thinking they may have been granted a reprieve, imagine their horror when they discover they have been transported to a failing planet on the far side of the galaxy, where they are given a simple ultimatum. Fight or die. Against all odds, this group of misfits manages to turn the tide against a relentless foe, only to discover the true cost of victory might exact a price they are unwilling to pay.

How far would you be willing to go to stay alive?

The IX.

Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure.

 

Giveaway:

To celebrate the audio release of International Bestseller The IX, Andrew Weston and Perseid Press have generously provided “read for free” Audible codes to the first five people who comment below. This is a $24.95 USD value.  Hurry, this is a first come, first serve promotion. N. N. Light will contact the winners via email.

 

Downloading Your Free The IX on Audible Instructions:

Go to my book’s page on Audible.com: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-IX-Audiobook/B01MCZ83B8/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1478545349&sr=1-1

Add the audiobook to your cart.

Create a new Audible.com account or log in.

Enter the promo code and click “Redeem” on the cart page.

To change the price from full price to $0.00, click the box next to “1 Credit” and click the “update” button to apply the credit to your purchase.

Complete checkout, and start listening to the free copy of the book.

 

Excerpt:

“A good point,” Marcus acknowledged. “But therein lies the wisdom of strategy. Our mission is of the utmost importance. It is vital we locate and secure the site in which the mineral deposits are thought to be located. But remember, because the city has been isolated for so long, we won’t know until we get there how accurate the archives are. Also, the actual Abyss itself and this forest are totally alien to us. They have to be checked out first. We also need to carry the supplies and utensils necessary to quickly establish a base of operations if things turn out favorably. Commander Cameron faced a conundrum. How could he move so much equipment over such a long distance without the need for machines which are needed elsewhere and which might draw our enemy’s attention?”

 

Gesturing between them, Marcus emphasized, “That’s where we come in. Cavalry and legionnaires. Although we can’t hope to match the speed and grace of a highly sophisticated hover craft, we are nevertheless skilled at transporting large consignments over long distances at a speed unmatched by our contemporaries. And we can do so secretly. Additionally, the defensive measures we now have at our command will protect us, and allow us to set up a considerable series of fortifications from the outset. Just wait until you see what my men can build in a matter of hours. By the time the shuttle runs do begin, they’ll have the luxury of berthing overnight within a city of fabricated domiciles.”

 

“I’m looking forward to that.” Wilson smiled. “I watched your men drilling a few times back in Rhomane, and it was very impressive. The guys couldn’t believe how quickly you worked. To see it for real will be —”

 

Both men were disturbed by an outrider galloping full tilt toward them. The rest of the dozing company became instantly alert and began scanning the shadows.

 

Throwing up a hasty salute, the soldier reined in and addressed Marcus. “Sir, the forest ends abruptly, about a mile ahead. It . . . It’s . . .”

 

“Spit it out, man.”

 

“Sir. It’s awesome, come and see.”

 

Signaling for the immediate group to follow, Marcus put his heels to Starblaze’s flanks and spurred his horse forward. A few minutes later, he reached several other sentries who were waiting to one side of the road. The highway veered away sharply to the southwest, so Marcus was surprised to be led off the tarmac and into the gloom.

 

An eldritch veil thick with antiquity closed about them. Specimens that looked like a cross between beech and cedar, oak and elm, ash and spruce, each endowed with massive boles, filed off into the distance. Stately monarchs of a forest that seemed to suddenly hold its breath in anticipation. Threading his way between iron trunks and cable-like roots, Marcus wondered what secrets this brooding edifice must contain, and if it would ever be possible to find your way out if a person became disoriented.

 

You don’t realize how dense this place is until you leave the safety of the main thoroughfare. I’ll have to order markers placed to ensure our more inexperienced travelers don’t go getting themselves lost. And I’ll restrict hunting too, at least until we’re more familiar with the area. Goodness knows how much further it goes.

 

He needn’t have worried. After five more minutes of painfully slow travel, the swathe drew back and shafts of rose-gold brilliance punctuated the canopy in one place after another.

 

Everyone relaxed as they sensed a change ahead.

 

Even so, when the party broke free from dappled shade and rode into the harsh glare of direct sunshine, everyone was taken completely by surprise.

 

Mars preserve us!

 

Shocked, Marcus could only stare. I can see why my sentry was rendered speechless.

 

A shattered plain rolled away on both sides, providing a severe counterpoint to the undulating barrier of the forest’s perimeter. The compact, ruddy surface of the plateau shimmered in the heat of the midday sun. As the mounted group moved out onto the shelf, their movements caused swirls of scarlet dust to dance into the air.

 

Shading his eyes, Marcus tried to make sense of what he was seeing.

 

The ground was littered with pock-marks, each of which contained a smattering of gold and red rocks. A foul-smelling steam issued from a number of fissures and scalloped clefts. Wherever the vapors concentrated together, the soil was stained by a copper-colored residue.

 

Marcus could make out the shimmering white line of a bridge, about five miles away, obviously accommodating the continued course of the main highway. Closer to him, a smoother, rectangular area stood out in stark contrast to their cratered surroundings.

 

Hmm. Obviously a parking area for vehicles.

 

As intriguing as these distractions were, however, they paled under the imposing presence of the leviathan before them.

 

A huge canyon, over seventeen miles across and eight deep, gouged its way across the plane of their sight. Marcus knew from his mission briefing that the company now stood at one of the narrowest points of the Shilette Abyss. The gulf itself stretched away for over a thousand leagues, east and west; and for most of its length, the other side was so far away it would be impossible to see.

 

He marveled as to how the Ardenese had contrived to construct anything to cross such a gaping chasm, for the cliffs of the valley were an unstable maze of razor-sharp edges and unforgiving rocks that could give way without warning.

 

There, not three hundred yards in front of them, sat the real surprise. The bluff plunged away to form a huge cleft, a monster fissure over seventy feet wide which appeared to have been hacked into the earth to form a V-shaped crevice.

 

Cantering forward, the excited explorers discovered a tiered series of shelves, corresponding to levels of strata, leading down the cliff wall.

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/IX-Book-1/dp/B01MCZ7XEU/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1478062836&sr=8-1

Audible http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-IX-Audiobook/B01MCZ83B8/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1478545349&sr=1-1

 

andrew-weston-2016

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is an ex-military ex-police expat from the UK who now lives with a large amount of cats in a medium sized house on a small Greek Island.

An astronomy and law graduate, he has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society, the British Science Fiction Association and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

 

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

 

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

 

Dealing With Aliens? @maaarmstrang Offers Assistance #books #PerseidPress #fiction


Top 10 Things to Remember When Dealing With Aliens

-They really hate the smell of Aqua Net hairspray or anything with chlorofluorocarbons.

-Wolfhounds can smell an alien a mile away. Travel with wolfhounds.

-How to recognize Grays: They almost always wear big hats to cover their tiny ears. Female Grays don’t like to alter their ear flaps. They’re really weird that way: they think those vestigial flaps are the sexiest thing. For all I know, that’s how they screw. Go figure. Aliens are really strange.

-Another way to recognize Grays: They have short, stumpy legs and can’t stand Earth’s higher gravity. They have to wear special prosthetics to make their legs longer, with servo motors to turn their legs and hips. If you hear the sound of little motors, they’re probably Grays.

-When you get sucked up into a Gray mother ship, just the ride up the glitter tube can screw up your brain chemistry. The Grays don’t quite understand human anatomy and as a result have really messed up some people.

-If you think you might get abducted by aliens, carry KY Jelly. The Grays don’t have to offer you lubricants if they do an anal probe, but if you bring your own, they have to let you use it.

-One bonus to being abducted by Grays: you get great teeth. They smear this stuff on your enamel that’s better than fluoride.

-Grays have totally messed up modern fashion, like pant suits. There’s no other way to explain modern fashion, unless you buy into the idea that it’s a conspiracy by misogynists to humiliate women.

-Also, Grays have screwed up modern art.

-Grays hate religion. If you want to scare away a Gray, invoke the name of Jesus, Allah, Buddha, the Goddess — anything.

 

truckstop_EBOOK

 

Title: Truck Stop Earth

Author:  Michael A. Armstrong

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Aliens, UFO

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Book Blurb:

The mother of all alien bases. The big one, the megabase, the center of the Alien Occupation Government, the headquarters, the brain, the nerve center, the absolute pinpoint big base, right there, right in the hills above Della. Forget Roswell. Forget Machu Picchu. Forget Stonehenge and Tikal and all those alleged alien bases, abandoned every one of them. This was the big one, right now, the source of all my troubles, the world’s troubles, the whole solar system’s troubles. Right there.

 

Out there across the valley, shining across it like a beacon, was a big flat mountain. “Oly’s Mountain” I later heard it called, or Table Top, some said. I could feel it, feel the humming and the disruption of the ether right down to my bones. I didn’t even have to take out my little pocket detector that’s disguised as a Swiss Army knife. I knew, I just knew. And my butt chip burned like an exploded capsule of sulfuric acid. God damn, right there in the mountain — not on it, in it.

 

Book Trailer:

 

Excerpt:

The guys in the black jumpsuits wanted to give me a ride.

I was walking along the side of the road six miles out of Beaver Creek, real peaceful like, digging the wildflowers and the beer cans and the little shreds of filter fabric sticking out of the edges, when I turned at the sound of a car coming from down the road. Not even thinking, I stuck my thumb out, but before I had a chance to pull it back in, the white Jeep Cherokee stopped. At first I thought they were camo dudes, like the ones who patrol around Area 51 at Groom Lake. Man, I hate those rent-a-grunts, but I guess they made it personal after that little incident when I blew their cover and listed their names and home addresses on the Web. ’Nother story.

I didn’t even have to look at their plates — Alaska blue ’n’ gold NRG lettered plates, and in Alaska they only go up to the J’s — to know who they were: AOGs, Agents of the Grays, Alien Occupation Government. They looked like batfags, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms goons, right down to the thin Kevlar vests. Two of ’em, though, in the slick black jumpsuits.

“Need a ride, son?” asked the guy in the passenger’s side as he rolled down the window. Tinted windows, thick windows: armored, I knew.

“Just hiking, sir,” I said. Old habit from when I was in Delta Force. Any guy calls you “son,” you call them “sir.” I’d of saluted, but when Delta kicked me upstairs on special assignment as a deep cover agent in the Foreign Service, I swore off saluting. With my dreadlocks tucked up into my baseball cap, and the hair buzzed on the side of my head, that guy might of thought I was military with a high and tight, in civvies.

“We can give you a ride up to the border, son,” the guy went on.

“Only a couple of miles. I’ll walk the rest of the way.”

Then they got out. Right then I knew they were Grays because they had the mirrored sunglasses and the jerky legs. The Grays on bottom duty get face surgery so they look normal — real noses, mouths, and ears — but the big triangular eyes are hard to fake. Takes a lot of bone surgery, so most of them just wear big sunglasses. And the Grays have long torsos but stumpy legs, kind of like that Frog painter Hangin’ Too Loose Lowtrec, so to look human, they walk on these like stilts. Our high gravity really messes them up, though, so they never get good at it. You learn these things when you become an enemy of the bigheads like me.

The driver was a wymmin, I mean, I knew the type, feminazis: big broad shoulders and almost no boobs, and fat hips. She had short hair just over her ear flaps and long bangs. Female Grays don’t like to alter their ear flaps. They’re really weird that way: they think those vestigial flaps are the sexiest thing. For all I know, that’s how they screw. Go figure. Aliens are really strange.

So the wymmin Gray got out, same klutzy walk, and they both gimped over to me, looking real tall, but I knew I could kick their legs out from under them. ’Course, iffen I did that, they’d blast me to cinders, but it’s nice to know I had the option to damage them before I died. They leaned up against that white Jeep Cherokee with the funny windows, hooking their thumbs in their belts. Those Grays watch too many of our Western movies, if you ask me. Someone ought to tell them, or at least turn ‘em on to some Mel Gibson thrillers so they can learn a new attitude . . .

“You’re kind of out here in the middle of nowhere,” the wymmin says. She had one of those squeaky high voices their females have. It always flips me out. You see a big momma like that, and then she has this high voice.

“Yes ma’am,” I said. “I’m used to walking.”

“So we’ll give you a ride to the border,” she said. “Across the border, make it easy on you. Into Tok. You must be going that way.”

“Might take a right at Tositna and go up to Chicken,” I said. “Do some gold mining.”

“Yeah.” The guy scratched his balls, in that sympathetic gesture guys make to each other, sort of like saying, Balls, what a pain, huh? Only I knew he was re-adjusting the servos on his stilts.

“So you sure you don’t want a lift?” The wymmin Gray glared at me through her glasses. I knew she was scanning me. Hell, I knew they had me pegged already. They’d put a chip in my butt after my first abduction near Cedar Key (see Chapter 16), so they could track me like that, you bet.

“Don’t wanna trouble you,” I said.

“No trouble,” the guy said.

“Still . . . “ I stared off into the distance, thinking of Hannah. I figured if they were scanning me, they’d pick up the increase in blood pressure and the little woody I was working up. “I’m sort of hoping for a ride with this babe I met in Beaver Creek.” I grinned, and the guy Gray grinned back, showing me his stumpy little tongue.

“Gotcha,” he said, winking and making a little gun with his fingers and shooting it at me. Really. They ought to watch some old Bond movies if they wanted some better clichés.

“Dude,” I said.

The wymmin nodded and the guy nodded and they got back in the white Cherokee and drove over the hill and probably to one of their shuttle crafts. A few minutes later, the Coasties who had given me a ride 500 miles down the road picked me up again.

When the Coasties dropped me off just before the border, I saw the black helicopters.

Welcome to Alaska, I thought. Now go home.

 

Buy Links:

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30650517-truck-stop-earth

 

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HN3JAJS

 

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truck-stop-earth-michael-a-armstrong/1123961595?ean=9780997531008

 

Michael and Leia bw

 

Author Biography:

Michael Armstrong was born in Virginia in 1956, grew up in Tampa, Florida, and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1979. He has lived in Homer, Alaska, since 1994. He attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop and received a bachelor of arts from New College of Florida and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. His first novel is After the Zap. Michael’s short fiction has been published in Asimov’s, The Magazine of Science Fiction, Fiction Quarterly, and various anthologies, including Not of Woman Born, a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and several Heroes In Hell anthologies. His other novels include Agviq, The Hidden War, and Bridge Over Hell, part of the Perseid Press Heroes in Hell universe.

 

Michael has taught creative writing composition, and dog mushing. He is a reporter and photographer for the Homer News. He and his wife, Jenny Stroyeck, live in small house they built themselves on Diamond Ridge above Homer, which they share with an incredibly adorable labradoodle.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/michael.a.armstrong.writer/

Twitter https://twitter.com/maaarmstrang

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4100550.Michael_A_Armstrong

Publisher http://www.theperseidpress.com/

 

Think You Know Alaska? Author @maaarmstrang Reveals 10 Interesting Facts #books #scifi


banner-ad_TSE_1

Top 10 Things People Don’t Know about Alaska:

  • They are two kinds of people in Alaska, RATs, or rational thinking straights, and GETs, the genuinely, truly strange. It’s not as easy to tell the difference as you think.
  • Alaska is really one big institution — not a prison, and more like a university — that draws people who are the toxic scum of normalcy, a great clot of pressure that has been allowed to escape.
  • If you want to be anonymous in Alaska, drive a Subaru.
  • Everything weird and unusual and strange that happens in Alaska has a rational, logical explanation. And an irrational one.
  • As Ellis Paul said, “Sometimes you gotta go to the end of the earth just to turn yourself around.” Alaska is the end of the earth — or, at least, one end of the earth, like Key West — and there are a lot of cul de sacs.
  • If you see windows covered in aluminum foil in Alaska, that’s not some tinfoil hat trick to keep out mind altering radio waves. It’s because in the summer it stays light for a long time and that’s how some people keep their bedrooms dark.
  • A third of the population of Alaska has been here less than five years.
  • Alaska is really, really big. If you laid a map to scale of Alaska over the Lower 48 states, Alaska would span a distance from Jacksonville, Fla., to San Francisco, Calif. The distance in air miles from Juneau to Barrow is the same as from Orlando to New York City, or 1,100 miles. The area of Alaska is about the same as the Eastern Seaboard from Maine to Florida and West to Tennessee.
  • Another quote, from a bumper sticker by Ginger VanWagoner: “We’re here because we’re not all there.”
  • In Alaska, if you’ve bathed in the past week and wear a clean pair of jeans, you’re considered to be dressed up.

 

truckstop_EBOOK

 

Title: Truck Stop Earth

Author:  Michael A. Armstrong

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Aliens, UFO

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Book Blurb:

The mother of all alien bases. The big one, the megabase, the center of the Alien Occupation Government, the headquarters, the brain, the nerve center, the absolute pinpoint big base, right there, right in the hills above Della. Forget Roswell. Forget Machu Picchu. Forget Stonehenge and Tikal and all those alleged alien bases, abandoned every one of them. This was the big one, right now, the source of all my troubles, the world’s troubles, the whole solar system’s troubles. Right there.

 

Out there across the valley, shining across it like a beacon, was a big flat mountain. “Oly’s Mountain” I later heard it called, or Table Top, some said. I could feel it, feel the humming and the disruption of the ether right down to my bones. I didn’t even have to take out my little pocket detector that’s disguised as a Swiss Army knife. I knew, I just knew. And my butt chip burned like an exploded capsule of sulfuric acid. God damn, right there in the mountain — not on it, in it.

 

Book Trailer:

 

Excerpt:

The guys in the black jumpsuits wanted to give me a ride.

I was walking along the side of the road six miles out of Beaver Creek, real peaceful like, digging the wildflowers and the beer cans and the little shreds of filter fabric sticking out of the edges, when I turned at the sound of a car coming from down the road. Not even thinking, I stuck my thumb out, but before I had a chance to pull it back in, the white Jeep Cherokee stopped. At first I thought they were camo dudes, like the ones who patrol around Area 51 at Groom Lake. Man, I hate those rent-a-grunts, but I guess they made it personal after that little incident when I blew their cover and listed their names and home addresses on the Web. ’Nother story.

I didn’t even have to look at their plates — Alaska blue ’n’ gold NRG lettered plates, and in Alaska they only go up to the J’s — to know who they were: AOGs, Agents of the Grays , Alien Occupation Government. They looked like batfags, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms goons, right down to the thin   Kevlar vests. Two of ’em, though, in the slick black jumpsuits.

“Need a ride, son?” asked the guy in the passenger’s side as he rolled down the window. Tinted windows, thick windows: armored, I knew.

“Just hiking, sir,” I said. Old habit from when I was in Delta Force. Any guy calls you “son,” you call them “sir.” I’d of saluted, but when Delta kicked me upstairs on special assignment as a deep cover agent in the Foreign Service, I swore off saluting. With my dreadlocks tucked up into my baseball cap, and the hair buzzed on the side of my head, that guy might of thought I was military with a high and tight, in civvies.

“We can give you a ride up to the border, son,” the guy went on.

“Only a couple of miles. I’ll walk the rest of the way.”

Then they got out. Right then I knew they were Grays because they had the mirrored sunglasses and the jerky legs. The Grays on bottom duty get face surgery so they look normal — real noses, mouths, and ears — but the big triangular eyes are hard to fake. Takes a lot of bone surgery, so most of them just wear big sunglasses. And the Grays have long torsos but stumpy legs, kind of like that Frog painter Hangin’ Too Loose Lowtrec, so to look human, they walk on these like stilts. Our high gravity really messes them up, though, so they never get good at it. You learn these things when you become an enemy of the bigheads like me.

The driver was a wymmin, I mean, I knew the type, feminazis: big broad shoulders and almost no boobs, and fat hips. She had short hair just over her ear flaps and long bangs. Female Grays don’t like to alter their ear flaps. They’re really weird that way: they think those vestigial flaps are the sexiest thing. For all I know, that’s how they screw. Go figure. Aliens are really strange.

So the wymmin Gray got out, same klutzy walk, and they both gimped over to me, looking real tall, but I knew I could kick their legs out from under them. ’Course, iffen I did that, they’d blast me to cinders, but it’s nice to know I had the option to damage them before I died. They leaned up against that white Jeep Cherokee with the funny windows, hooking their thumbs in their belts. Those Grays watch too many of our Western movies, if you ask me. Someone ought to tell them, or at least turn ‘em on to some Mel Gibson thrillers so they can learn a new attitude . . .

“You’re kind of out here in the middle of nowhere,” the wymmin says. She had one of those squeaky high voices their females have. It always flips me out. You see a big momma like that, and then she has this high voice.

“Yes ma’am,” I said. “I’m used to walking.”

“So we’ll give you a ride to the border,” she said. “Across the border, make it easy on you. Into Tok. You must be going that way.”

“Might take a right at Tositna and go up to Chicken,” I said. “Do some gold mining.”

“Yeah.” The guy scratched his balls, in that sympathetic gesture guys make to each other, sort of like saying, Balls, what a pain, huh? Only I knew he was re-adjusting the servos on his stilts.

“So you sure you don’t want a lift?” The wymmin Gray glared at me through her glasses. I knew she was scanning me. Hell, I knew they had me pegged already. They’d put a chip in my butt after my first abduction near Cedar Key (see Chapter 16), so they could track me like that, you bet.

“Don’t wanna trouble you,” I said.

“No trouble,” the guy said.

“Still . . . “ I stared off into the distance, thinking of Hannah. I figured if they were scanning me, they’d pick up the increase in blood pressure and the little woody I was working up. “I’m sort of hoping for a ride with this babe I met in Beaver Creek.” I grinned, and the guy Gray grinned back, showing me his stumpy little tongue.

“Gotcha,” he said, winking and making a little gun with his fingers and shooting it at me. Really. They ought to watch some old Bond movies if they wanted some better clichés.

“Dude,” I said.

The wymmin nodded and the guy nodded and they got back in the white Cherokee and drove over the hill and probably to one of their shuttle crafts. A few minutes later, the Coasties who had given me a ride 500 miles down the road picked me up again.

When the Coasties dropped me off just before the border, I saw the black helicopters.

Welcome to Alaska, I thought. Now go home.

 

Buy Links:

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30650517-truck-stop-earth

 

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HN3JAJS

 

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truck-stop-earth-michael-a-armstrong/1123961595?ean=9780997531008

 

Michael and Leia bw

 

Author Biography:

Michael Armstrong was born in Virginia in 1956, grew up in Tampa, Florida, and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1979. He has lived in Homer, Alaska, since 1994. He attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop and received a bachelor of arts from New College of Florida and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. His first novel is After the Zap. Michael’s short fiction has been published in Asimov’s, The Magazine of Science Fiction, Fiction Quarterly, and various anthologies, including Not of Woman Born, a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and several Heroes In Hell anthologies. His other novels include Agviq, The Hidden War, and Bridge Over Hell, part of the Perseid Press Heroes in Hell universe.

 

Michael has taught creative writing composition, and dog mushing. He is a reporter and photographer for the Homer News. He and his wife, Jenny Stroyeck, live in small house they built themselves on Diamond Ridge above Homer, which they share with an incredibly adorable labradoodle.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/michael.a.armstrong.writer/

Twitter https://twitter.com/maaarmstrang

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4100550.Michael_A_Armstrong

Publisher http://www.theperseidpress.com/

 

Best-Selling Author @WestonAndrew Reveals His Top 10 Memories #scifi #PerseidPress


Hi, my name is Andrew Weston. I’m an author living in a cupboard under the stairs…? Sorry, the darn medication must be off again.  Truthfully? I like to spend my time fishing for dreams among the stars. I haven’t caught anything yet, so perhaps it’s time to change my bait?

Anyhow, as some of my readers will be aware, before turning my hand to writing, I experienced life’s rich tapestry as a specialist in the military, and later, as a police officer in a number of varied roles. Looking back over the years, I thought it might be fun to reveal my “Top Ten Memories” (Or, at least, those recollections I’m willing to share – hee hee).
They’re not necessarily in order, as I tried to group them together into little themes, but such experiences made me the person I am now, and in a strange way, have influenced my writing. See what you think…

 

  1. The birth of my first child: (Or indeed, all of my children, come to that). A tremendous experience that no father should miss…especially when you’re allowed to assist. A privilege I enjoyed for each of my little gems.
  2. Delivering a child: And it wasn’t one of my own! I’d only been in the police for several years and after serving in a city environment, moved to a rural station covering hundreds of square miles of forest. That’s when I came across a young couple who had broken down while driving to hospital for their first baby. Back seat of a car – no problem! (To be honest, mother did all the work – father did most of the sweating and pacing up and down, and I merely pretended it was just another day at work). And do you know what; they didn’t name the baby after me?
    (Just as well, it was a teeny-tiny girl). All together now, aaaaaah!
  3. Getting arrested: Seriously. As I progressed through my career, I worked undercover on a number of occasions. During a sting where I’d been placed among a gang of druggie thieves, a number of officers from out of area were brought in to assist in rounding up the dregs of society. They took one look at me and decided I was one of the most unsavory individuals they’d ever seen, and I was the first one they jumped on. Those fur-lined cuffs really pinched. Ah – happy times.
  4. Throwing myself out of a perfectly good airplane: Not too much to say here as so many other guys in the military have done a similar thing. But the sense of freedom you get on the hill…ah, there’s nothing like it.
  5. Getting shot: Staying on a military theme. Top tip: not recommended. And while I appreciate the fact you have to expect it when you join the military – and especially in the kind of role in which I served – it’s a bit of a bummer when it actually happens to you for the first time. (A true “protruding bottom lip moment” if ever there was one).
  6. Discovering I am immune/resistant to the euphoria opiates are supposed to instill: What can I say? I’m one of those quirks of nature. Following a serious injury – mentioned above – and later episodes in my life, I have been hospitalized on a number of occasions. Try what they might…morphine, codeine, tramadol, fentanyl, doctors could find a lot to help. I didn’t get high; it barely reduced the pain; and really, all I took away from the experience was constipation, itchy rashes and bathmat tongue. (No wonder I ended up working undercover on certain departments, eh?)
  7. My mom, the drug cultivator: See how this continues a pharmaceutical theme? While I was serving in the police, I’d pop home to Birmingham, in the UK, to see how my parents were from time to time. On one occasion, my wife and I arrived late on a Friday evening, and after a meal, went to bed.
    So you better understand the setting, you should know my mom owned an antique restoration business and used to live above the premises itself. While this meant she had no front garden – as that was given over to customer parking – she had a rear courtyard, in which she used to grow plants and cuttings she’d collect while out on countryside walks.
    So, there I am, Saturday morning, bright and early. I take a cup of tea out into the rear courtyard, sit down, and as I’m raising the cup to my lips, come face to face with one of the healthiest cannabis plants I’ve ever seen.
    What the flip-flop?
    Managing to swallow a mouthful of tea without choking, I put my mug on the floor, lean forward and actually pinch myself. It can’t be? Yes it is. NO! It can’t be?
    I examine it for the umpteenth time, and eventually accept the inevitable truth.
    ..you little par-tay minx!
    So, then I’m thinking…how they hell do I slip this into the conversation naturally?
    Anyway, about half an hour later, mom gets up; makes her own tea; dawdles out into the yard, whereupon I join her on the bench and compliment her on her green fingers and say how nice the makeshift garden is looking. I point at one or two shrubs and bushes, and ask her a little bit about them, and gradually work my way toward exhibit ‘A’.
    “So, when did you get that particular plant over there?”

“Oh that?” she says, “I was out walking Ben – the dog – up Haldon Woods. He ran off into the undergrowth, and when I went to find him, I spotted a whole load of them in a glade. I liked the shape of the leaves so took a cutting to bring home.”

“You liked the look of the leaves, eh?” I say, wondering where this will go.

“Yes,” mom replies, “I was hoping they’d have flowered by now so I could see what color the petals are.”

I start laughing. She asks me what’s so funny, so I explain, “Well, you’re gonna be out of luck. By now, the leaves would normally be drying and ready for rolling.”

“Eh?” And I’m glad to see she appears genuinely puzzled.
“Mom…how can I put this? People don’t normally grow these for their pretty flowers. They’re more interested in smoking the leaves?”

“Eh?” she mumbles again.

“That’s a cannabis bush.”

“A what?”

“Cannabis. Weed. Ganja. An honest-to-God, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred pounds and go directly to jail, cannabis bush.”

“Don’t be so ****ing stupid,” she spluttered, “It can’t be drugs. They were growing wild in the middle of the forest.”

(I know…sigh)

“In a glade, off the beaten track, right?”

“Yes,” she replies indignantly, “so there’s nothing suspicious about them.”

….How I wish you could have listened in on the conversation….
Long story short? I quickly put her right about the tricks of the trade many drug dealers employ to grow their wares, and ensured the drugs were properly disposed of. (And no sitting round in circles and inhaling deeply was involved)

  1. Climbing my first mountain: See? I’m still talking about getting high…the connections abound in this top ten 🙂

monte-rosa-02
1983 – Monta Rosa, Switzerland

A truly exhilarating experience and something that gave me the climbing bug.

  1. Getting naked when I shouldn’t: Intrigued? Well, I had to attend hospital for a follow-up surgery for one of my injuries – this one, to my left shoulder.
    Those of you who have also been in a similar position know the score. You go into a little waiting cubicle. You’re told to take off your clothes, place them in a locker, and put on the items laid out for you on a chair. (In this case, hospital slippers and robe) Somewhat Spartan, but what can I say. The NHS is struggling.
    When the operating team was ready, a nurse came to get me, and escorted me through to the preparation room.
    I walk in there – everyone’s busy preparing for the op – and as they go about their business, one of the surgical staff says, over their shoulder, “Just take off you robe and wait over there.”

I thought…hello? But then I reasoned, well, they obviously know what they’re doing, and they’ve seen it all before.
So I took off my robe and stood there like a peacock, proud and defiant…until one of the nurses turns round, spots I’m naked, and let’s out a yelp of surprise… “Oh my God, where’s your gown?” (You know – the paper-thin tie-up pinafores that shows your butt to the world)

Bemused, I replied, “What gown?”

“The gown in the changing cubicle.”
“There wasn’t any gown in the changing cubicle,” I tried to explain, by now, strategically gesticulating so as to hide my morning glory, “I was told to take off my clothes and put on the stuff placed out on the chair.” Pointing desperately, I made sure to emphasize, “That’s the slippers on my feet and that robe draped over the counter…” Then I added the punchline…”I thought it a bit strange you’d want me to be naked for a shoulder operation?” Ta-dah!

We laughed.
They got me a gown.
We laughed again.
Then they put me out, and I’m sure, talked about it and laughed even more while I was unconscious. Sigh – good times.

  1. Getting set up on a blind date: Some of you might know the score. Friends phone you up out of the blue and invite you out. You turn up. Several other couples are also “mysteriously” in attendance, along with a cunningly arrange single lady whose been fooled by the lies they’ve told about you. Ha!
    Well, I’m actually very glad that happened, as that’s how I met my wife.

And here we are on our wedding day…

DSCF0681
See, all you romantics out there…Blind dates can work 😉

 

(Apologies for the state of the photo – but it’s reproduced from an actual picture)

 

So, there you go. A Top Ten that’s a little bit different. But, when you think about it, it’s still “author related” as it’s often said – Write What You Know.
Having experienced quite a few things most people never get to see and do – and having had a great deal of fun along the way – I can dip into those various episodes and “relive them” through the pages of my work. When you’re able to add those little details of what a certain episode feels like, sounds like, tastes like, the transformation it creates to your interpretation of the fictional environment adds that depth of perspective that plucks your scene from the page and places it where it belongs: alive and kicking, within the imagination of your reader.

 

IXExordiumLARGE

 

Perhaps you’ve spotted that as you read The IX Series or Heroes in Hell? I do hope so, as it makes the effort I put into my work all the more worthwhile.

 

Anyway, that’s it for now. Next time? My top ten tips regarding personal grooming and the washing of shaved heads. See you then.

Andrew Weston

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestsellers, The IX, and Hell Bound, (A novel forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with two of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for http://Astronaut.com  and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

 

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

 

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

#ReleaseDay – Truck Stop Earth by @maaarmstrang + @Perseid_Press #DarkHumor #books


 banner-ad_TSE_1

Title: Truck Stop Earth

Author:  Michael A. Armstrong

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Aliens, Dark Humor

Publisher: Perseid Press

Release Date: August 1, 2016

 

truckstop_EBOOK

 

Book Blurb:

The mother of all alien bases. The big one, the megabase, the center of the Alien Occupation Government, the headquarters, the brain, the nerve center, the absolute pinpoint big base, right there, right in the hills above Della. Forget Roswell. Forget Machu Picchu. Forget Stonehenge and Tikal and all those alleged alien bases, abandoned every one of them. This was the big one, right now, the source of all my troubles, the world’s troubles, the whole solar system’s troubles. Right there.

 

Out there across the valley, shining across it like a beacon, was a big flat mountain. “Oly’s Mountain” I later heard it called, or Table Top, some said. I could feel it, feel the humming and the disruption of the ether right down to my bones. I didn’t even have to take out my little pocket detector that’s disguised as a Swiss Army knife. I knew, I just knew. And my butt chip burned like an exploded capsule of sulfuric acid. God damn, right there in the mountain — not on it, in it.

 

Book Trailer:

 

Excerpt:

I left the lovey-doveys out there on the edge of the light and walked back toward the big bonfire. Barry and his marimba group, Gogogoi, had dragged their instruments down to the beach and set up there on a little flat spot. The marimbas looked kinda like xylophones, except later Barry told me that would be like so uncool to say, since marimbas were far more ancient than piddly-ass tin instruments. “We’re talking Mother Africa,” he’d say, which was kinda funny, since everyone in Gogogoi was like whiter than milk, definitely sans tans.

 

See, they had like these smaller instruments, three sopranos and two tenors, all with wooden keys and on stands, except for Dan the guy from MentalHeal, who played a low soprano that he could sit behind on account of his MS. The marimbas had big pipes, plastic, really, with holes in the sides covered with pieces of cellophane so they made this like buzzing sound.

 

Behind the smaller marimbas were the big machines, the engine room, Barry called them, a baritone and a bass, and the bass like so big and tall you had to stand on a bench to play it. They hustled and humped the marimbas out, got them set up. Dan sat on his bench at the soprano at the back, and then Barry stepped up to one of two sopranos perpendicular to Dan’s, the lead soprano, with Grace, the logger chick receptionist, across from him, her hair still perfectly shellacked in place. Boots, the receptionist at MentalHeal, was on one of the tenors, only it took me a while to recognize her, cuz she didn’t have those little granny glasses or that neat and tidy brown bob haircut with bangs. No, it was all frizzed out and spiked, and she wore this wild paisley T-shirt that was really tight. Boots had great boobs, nice firm muscles, and damn she looked hot.

 

Roz from the ’Stead was on the other tenor, her purple buzz-cut hair spiked out, too, and she had these cool flouncy pants and sort of a white and purple tie-dyed shirt that looked like it had amoebas on it.

 

Ren was up there behind the baritone, looking almost too clean cut for the group, although, well, with his shirt off he had some incredible tatts, and they didn’t look clean cut at all.

 

And up there on bass, her long silver-and-black braids all redone into about twenty little braids, was Carol, the bike lady I’d seen on the Spit the first day, her bike propped up against a log not far from the marimbas. Carol kinda moved back and forth on the bench, her hands clutching these big ass mallets, just itching to do something.

 

Gogogoi didn’t like cough for attention or announce a song or anything; they just laid into it. Roz started first with a couple of quick notes: ba-da bomp-ba bomp ba-bomp bomp ba-bomp, one round, then Carol came in, her arms flying high as she hit the same notes on the bass. Ren followed up, one round, two rounds, with a counterpoint, sorta filling in the spaces.

 

The other tenor, Grace, and the three sopranos followed up singing, no words, just a basic, “Heyyy,” two more rounds until I thought they were going to run out of breath, and then they all came in with a basic pattern: bom-bom bomp-bomp, bom-bomp bom-bomp, two more rounds of that, and then when the band had been playing together and got really tight, Barry just let loose.

 

I could feel this like energy lift us up out there, and if we had been sitting down, we stood up, and if we had been standing up, we started shifting back and forth and then damned if by the time Barry’s mallets weren’t running up and down those keys, his hands whirling so fast they were a blur, we were all bouncing and swaying and leaping back and forth. I mean, you couldn’t sit down, you couldn’t stand still.

 

Carol was like this whirl of energy, her movements straight and pure and right on, the notes just booming, those big resonators booming, and the little flaps of cellophane humming. No, not humming — singing. I swore the instruments started to talk, I mean, not voices inside my head talking, but talking, communicating and saying, I don’t know, words.

 

Only not words I knew. African words, maybe, Shona words, like where the marimba came from in Zimbabwe, I don’t know, foreign words. I knew the words, though, that was the weird thing. I’d heard the words, could hear them in my head as I danced and flew about, trying to remember why they seemed so familiar.

 

And it struck me. That sound? It was the sound of the universe when the aliens first dumped me on the side of the road there in Florida. It was the hum of the frogs, the hum of the crickets, the roaring of mosquitoes. It was the voice of the planet, Truck Stop Earth, how the world sung to you if you listened.

 

It was what kept me sane, kept me alive, kept me going when the Grays first did their nasty on me. I heard the voice of my home singing to me way back when, I heard it every night when the civilized world shut up for a moment, I heard it in the surf and sea and the wind whenever I bothered to open my mind to it, and I heard it in those marimbas.

 

All the other voices went away, all the doubts, all the worries, all the fears, all the pain and anger and hurt. OK, it didn’t go away; it just laid down low like the sea after a storm, went quiet and didn’t say anything. That song became something else, more than a song, and not only did I feel it, everyone felt it.

 

We fell into it. Gogogoi played like they were not musicians but instruments themselves, like the song was in the wood and the mallets and their bodies, and all they had to do was let it free. Dan played with force and purpose, his ravaged, weak body somehow empowered. Sweat poured off everyone, and though it seemed like the song would go on forever, eventually it ended, as all songs do, even though the sound kept resonating within.

 

And then they went into another song, and another, one song flowing into the other, different tune, different melody, different arrangements and different musicians at different instruments, until finally like a good storm we were all played out, danced out, sung out, and we just had to come up for air and breathe.

 

But the song itself wasn’t over. It just kept going and going, even though we couldn’t hear it.

 

Exclusive Excerpt at Black Gate:

https://www.blackgate.com/black-gate-online-fiction-an-excerpt-from-truck-stop-earth/

 

Buy Links:

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30650517-truck-stop-earth

 

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HN3JAJS

 

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truck-stop-earth-michael-a-armstrong/1123961595?ean=9780997531008

 

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/truck-stop-earth-1

 

Michael and Leia bw

 

Author Biography:

Michael Armstrong was born in Virginia in 1956, grew up in Tampa, Florida, and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1979. He has lived in Homer, Alaska, since 1994. He attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop and received a bachelor of arts from New College of Florida and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. His first novel is After the Zap. Michael’s short fiction has been published in Asimov’s, The Magazine of Science Fiction, Fiction Quarterly, and various anthologies, including Not of Woman Born, a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and several Heroes In Hell anthologies. His other novels include Agviq, The Hidden War, and Bridge Over Hell, part of the Perseid Press Heroes in Hell universe.

 

Michael has taught creative writing composition, and dog mushing. He is a reporter and photographer for the Homer News. He and his wife, Jenny Stroyeck, live in small house they built themselves on Diamond Ridge above Homer, which they share with an incredibly adorable labradoodle.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/michael.a.armstrong.writer/

Twitter https://twitter.com/maaarmstrang

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4100550.Michael_A_Armstrong

Publisher http://www.theperseidpress.com/

 

Extended 18+ Excerpt of Truck Stop Earth from @Perseid_Press #sciencefiction


 truckstop_EBOOK

 

Title: Truck Stop Earth

Author:  Michael A. Armstrong

Genre: Science Fiction, Aliens, Black Humor

Publisher: Perseid Press

Release Date: August 1, 2016

 

Book Blurb:

The mother of all alien bases. The big one, the megabase, the center of the Alien Occupation Government, the headquarters, the brain, the nerve center, the absolute pinpoint big base, right there, right in the hills above Della. Forget Roswell. Forget Machu Picchu. Forget Stonehenge and Tikal and all those alleged alien bases, abandoned every one of them. This was the big one, right now, the source of all my troubles, the world’s troubles, the whole solar system’s troubles. Right there.

 

Out there across the valley, shining across it like a beacon, was a big flat mountain. “Oly’s Mountain” I later heard it called, or Table Top, some said. I could feel it, feel the humming and the disruption of the ether right down to my bones. I didn’t even have to take out my little pocket detector that’s disguised as a Swiss Army knife. I knew, I just knew. And my butt chip burned like an exploded capsule of sulfuric acid. God damn, right there in the mountain — not on it, in it.

 

Book Trailer:

 

Extended 18+ Excerpt:

Note from Mrs. N: This excerpt contains adult language (read swearing), drug use and adult situations.

 

“New blood!” Barry exclaimed when he saw us. “New students!”

 

“New students?” I asked. I could see maybe Sarah as the perpetual college type, workin’ on the ten-year plan, only I had clearly gone beyond the university gig. “Where do you get off on that?”

 

Barry pointed to a neatly lettered banner hanging from the high ceiling. “The Cosmic Rational University of Della,” he said: “C-R-U-D. You mean you haven’t heard of Operation Train Whistle? The Della Conspiracy?”

 

I wanted to ask if that was another name for the Gray Conspiracy, only I hadn’t quite sussed out Barry and didn’t risk betraying all. “Do tell,” I said.

 

Barry grinned, and I could see him slip into a standard rap. You know that look? It’s where someone has told a story often enough to have the bones laid down, not often enough to wear it out, and frequent enough they can lay down a few new riffs.

 

“I’m out of here,” said one of the TFBs, a guy named Nick. “I’ve heard this rap before.”

 

“Me too,” said Rory, a woman with this dark brown braid going like all the way to the ground. “But you’ll love Operation Train Whistle, kids. Nice to meet you.”

 

“Likewise,” I said. “Operation Train Whistle?”

 

“Operation Train Whistle,” Barry said. “Where do I begin? OK, start with a question. How did you two find Della?”

 

“Smart-ass answer?” I asked.

 

“‘I turned right at Devil’s Pass’ has been used,” Barry said.

 

“OK. Honest answer. A mental health professional in Anchorage told me to,” I said.

 

“We get that a lot,” Barry said. “Sarah?”

 

“I saw a Zapata ad at the Student Union at my college.”

 

“That would be the HARD WORK CRUMMY WAGES GOOD SEX LOTSA DRUGS poster?” He grinned.

 

“Something like that.”

 

“Yeah, it’s some of my best work. Old, but a classic.” Barry settled back and grinned. “Freddy, Roz, how’d you get here?”

 

“Third generation Alaskan,” Freddy said. “That gonna screw up your theory?”

 

“Bear with me,” Barry said. “Roz, tell ’em how you got here.”

 

“Sisters of Providence transferred me up after I got my MSW. Then, uh, well, the order and I parted ways.”

 

“So what’s your point?” I asked.

 

“You were recruited. You didn’t just arrive here of your own free will. Someone suggested you come here. Someone planted the idea in your head, however subtle. Now, why Alaska?”

 

“You have to go to Alaska to get to Della,” Sarah said.

 

“Right. But didn’t going to Alaska lure you to Della?”

 

“Sure.”

 

“And how did the idea of Alaska get planted in your head?”

 

Sarah shrugged. “Jack London stories. Nature documentaries. Iditarod specials. Oh, and I read this novel once about blimps and nuclear pirates in the People’s Republic of Alaska.”

 

“Same here,” I said. “I mean, Alaska’s Alaska. It kinda has its own rep.”

 

“We call it a self-replicating mythos, one that regenerates its own energy. Sort of a perpetual mythmaking machine. It doesn’t need new propaganda to maintain the meme. The meme is pretty much damn near immortal. Take this big idea and let it rip.”

 

“Sure,” Sarah said. “I see that. And it sucked us in?”

 

“On its own. Operation Train Whistle, though, has agents. ‘Conductors,’ is what they’re called.”

 

“This is like its own operation?” I asked.

 

“To a point. You have this meme and then you want people to populate the myth, only the myth is more than a myth: it’s an institution.”

 

“An institution . . .” I could see Sarah begin to get skeptical.

 

“An institution,” Barry said. “A social system with its own infrastructure, its own bureaucracy, its own recruiting agency that exists for a specific social purpose. That’s an institution: churches, prisons, insane asylums, and universities. Alaska is a university.”

 

“It has a university?” Sarah looked confused.

 

“No, it is a university.” Barry raised a finger. “We’ll need some serious drugs to explicate this point.” He took out a tightly rolled doobie from one of like a zillion pockets on his vest and passed it under his nose. “Ah, Matanuska Thunder Fuck. You can’t beat 10,000 years of glacial loess.”

 

He lit the joint, inhaled on it until the end glowed like a comet, then passed it to me. As a rule I didn’t do dope on account of the effects it has on my meds, but I could see this might be necessary for the sake of intellectual discourse. I took a puff and handed it to Sarah, who inhaled that puppy like it was giving her CPR.

 

“I continue: Why did you come to Alaska?” Barry said. “I mean, why the hell would anyone come to a place fifteen-hundred miles from the nearest state, above the fiftieth parallel, in a land that’s either colder than the twat of a Plutonian ice maiden, windier than a category five hurricane, or damper than a baby’s diaper?”

 

“Because it’s someplace else,” I said.

 

“Right. And it’s not where everything else is,” Sarah added. “Like you have all this space and you can get away from all that other shit.”

 

“Bingo. Sort of a refuge.”

 

“Yeah. Sort of.”

 

“Only, not everyone needs that, and not everyone needs it for forever, but some do, and they stay for a dozen years, maybe only a few, maybe a lifetime. The thing is, no matter how you arrive, no matter how you get recruited, you are recruited. You belong here, someone else wants you here, and you can’t leave until you graduate.”

 

“You mean there’s this grand deliberateness to it? Alaska, coming to Alaska — it’s intentional?” I asked.

 

“Needed and necessary to the functioning of normal society, which” — Barry sucked on the joint as it came back to him for the third time — “Alaska for fucking sure ain’t.” He pointed at both of us. “You, Jimmo and you, Sarah, by virtue of being here, now, in this place, are here because somewhere someone has determined you should be here. You think it’s accidental. No, you are threats to human civilization, the toxic scum of normalcy, a great clot of pressure that has been allowed to escape. Operation Train Whistle has seen to it that you have been allowed to escape to here.”

 

“Only we don’t know it,” Sarah said.

 

“Now you do. Better still, the professors, the administrators, all the grunts and drones who operate the university, the CRUD, they don’t know it, either. Only those of us who have been truly enlightened understand the whole purpose.”

 

“It’s not a prison, though?”

 

“Not a prison. Not a loony bin. Not a hospital, either. None of those things. It’s a university. Think about it.”

 

I could see Barry had turned a corner here in his exegesis, had gone into new territory. Should I pull him back? Nah. I had gotten too stoned to do anything other than let him rip.

 

“Think about it! A university is the perfect utopia. You have a course laid out for you — a course of instruction, things you have to do before you can graduate. Maybe you decide you like the university, The University, and so you get an advanced degree and stay in it to teach. You might graduate but you never leave. As the great cosmic genius Fredrick Pohl put it, ‘life is one learning experience after another, and what you get for a diploma is, you die.’”

 

“But some people can leave the CRUD?” Sarah asked.

 

“All the time!” Barry smiled. “They come up here, get jobs, raise families, get careers, and maybe leave. Some are born here, like Freddy. Imagine that, right into the university, students for life! They can get out and go to real universities and maybe never come back. Others get to leave, except they always pine for Alaska so badly they either come back — and leave and come back and leave and come back — or they recruit for Alaska. That’s almost just as good.”

 

“And the whole purpose?”

 

“To keep all those people from fucking up the rest of the world. It’s kind of like Operation Wet Rubber Nipple. You know that one?”

 

I looked blankly at Sarah and shook my head.

 

“Wet Rubber Nipple was this college in the 1960s “—  — College” (and then and there he told me the name, but like I say, I forget things, which is good, because otherwise I couldn’t write about this and I’d have to be killed). “Actually, a program to recruit students in the 1960s. All these really bright, potentially dangerous radicals got lured to a small liberal arts college in Florida where they had their every demand met. Drugs? No problem? Sex? All you want. You could study anything, do anything, and the whole point was to keep those crazies from actually getting involved in campus politics where they could seriously undermine the normal functioning of American society. It only lasted until after Kent State, and then the big foundation that funded it pulled the plug. Some of those students wound up here, of course. Thing is, that was for a few years. Alaska: Alaska is for life.”

 

“But you can graduate.”

 

“Maybe. You can die,” Barry said.

 

Sarah stared at him, ran a hand through that stiff red hair, and burst out laughing, an insane, stoned laugh that grew until the very walls trembled.

 

“That’s the biggest pile of horseshit I’ve ever heard,” she said.

 

Barry smiled. “Exactly.” He looked at me.

 

I just grinned back. Got to thinking about it, and I understood. If the CRUD was real, if there really were administrators directing the thing, people who knew the actual truth about the true function of Alaska, then they also knew about the Grays, knew about the Alien Occupation Government, in fact, had to be the Alien Occupation Government, since the whole idea so neatly fit their general plan.

 

Truck Stop Alaska? Hah. Escape Valve Alaska, Campus Alaska, Camp Concentration Alaska. Thing was, it was so damn perfect — that to save the Earth you had to destroy Alaska, destroy Della and turn it into a normal, boring little town. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that.

 

I kinda like Della. Damn, there had to be a better way.

 

 

Buy Links:

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30650517-truck-stop-earth

 

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HN3JAJS

 

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truck-stop-earth-michael-a-armstrong/1123961595?ean=9780997531008

 

 

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/truck-stop-earth-1

 

Michael and Leia bw

 

Author Biography:

Michael Armstrong was born in Virginia in 1956, grew up in Tampa, Florida, and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1979. He has lived in Homer, Alaska, since 1994. He attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop and received a bachelor of arts from New College of Florida and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. His first novel is After the Zap. Michael’s short fiction has been published in Asimov’s, The Magazine of Science Fiction, Fiction Quarterly, and various anthologies, including Not of Woman Born, a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and several Heroes In Hell anthologies. His other novels include Agviq, The Hidden War, and Bridge Over Hell, part of the Perseid Press Heroes in Hell universe.

 

Michael has taught creative writing composition, and dog mushing. He is a reporter and photographer for the Homer News. He and his wife, Jenny Stroyeck, live in small house they built themselves on Diamond Ridge above Homer, which they share with an incredibly adorable labradoodle.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/michael.a.armstrong.writer/

Twitter https://twitter.com/maaarmstrang

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4100550.Michael_A_Armstrong

Publisher http://www.theperseidpress.com/

 

Personal Interview with Jimmo from Truck Stop Earth @Perseid_Press #darkhumor #UFO #SFF


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I’m not gonna give you all the ins and outs of old Jimmo’s life. I’ve sat in too many cracked plastic chairs before nosy-butt social workers doing that. You want deep psychological analysis of James Ignatius Malachi Obadiah Osborne’s life? Let me give you the name of my current shrink. I think Penelope has it on a thumb drive somewhere.

But in a nut shell — joke! — I’m just your average ex-vet wandering traveler who has been sucked up into a Gray mothership and been given the classic intimate biological examination. I’ve seen it all and been there, from Key West, Fla., to the ass-end of the road here in Della, Alaska. I like long walks on the beach, Norwegian aquavit, Irish wolfhounds, tough women (preferably redheads), and people who won’t give ya bullshit. Oh, and the smell of White Shoulders and AquaNet hairspray, but only because AquaNet has been proven to deter aliens. I don’t know why. You think Jimmo has all the answers?

 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

You know that moment when you’ve had one too many beers and your bladder is bursting and you take a nice, long pee? Remember that little tickle of pleasure you get? That’s about as close as it comes to perfect happiness. Too strange?

OK, how about this. You take on some huge challenge, like fighting a kick-ass wildfire that’s roaring down at you and it’s just you and your crew, a few Pulaskis, and maybe a DC-3 dropping retardant. Everything else doesn’t exist. It’s just this moment and something you have to do or you die, that’s what it is. And you don’t die. You stop the fire or come out alive in a firefight or maybe kick cancer’s butt. That’s perfect happiness, because you thought you might die and you didn’t.

But also, having close and intimate sex with someone who understands you and you understand them, and you satisfy each other almost perfectly, yeah, that’s not bad, either.

 

What is your greatest fear?

When you’ve looked into the Big Black of death and come out the other end, there is no fear. But the idea that the Alien Occupation Government might eventually take over this planet, and the Grays would use us for whatever evil they have in mind, that scares me. It should scare you, too, oh dear reader, if only you knew the truth.

 

What is your current state of mind?

Highly under the influence of very effective psychoactive drugs. OK, not really. I realized long ago all I got was sexy pharmaceuticals that no one really knew how they worked, but they did. My current state of mind is bliss.

 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

You should read my co-author’s account of that in Truck Stop Earth. Basically, we kicked alien butt and sent those asshole Grays screaming. We won a big battle. I’m hoping we win the war.

 

How would you like to die?

Quick and painless. Once you get past the pain and into the Big Black, there’s not much else. If I can’t die fighting, I’d be OK dying loving.

 

What is your motto?

Life is what happens when really good psychoactive drugs quit working.

 

truckstop_EBOOK

 

Title: Truck Stop Earth

Author:  Michael A. Armstrong

Genre: Dark Humor, Aliens, Science Fiction

Publisher: Perseid Press

Release Date: August 1, 2016 (E-book available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble now)

 

Book Blurb:

The mother of all alien bases. The big one, the megabase, the center of the Alien Occupation Government, the headquarters, the brain, the nerve center, the absolute pinpoint big base, right there, right in the hills above Della. Forget Roswell. Forget Machu Picchu. Forget Stonehenge and Tikal and all those alleged alien bases, abandoned every one of them. This was the big one, right now, the source of all my troubles, the world’s troubles, the whole solar system’s troubles. Right there.

 

Out there across the valley, shining across it like a beacon, was a big flat mountain. “Oly’s Mountain” I later heard it called, or Table Top, some said. I could feel it, feel the humming and the disruption of the ether right down to my bones. I didn’t even have to take out my little pocket detector that’s disguised as a Swiss Army knife. I knew, I just knew. And my butt chip burned like an exploded capsule of sulfuric acid. God damn, right there in the mountain — not on it, in it.

 

Book Trailer:

 

Extended Excerpt:

We hauled butt up East Road and might have had to pass a few trucks at the speed Samm put the crew-cab to, except that everyone else was hauling butt, too: cops, fire trucks, volunteer firefighters. It was as if that fire were a big drain hole and we were rubber duckies getting sucked down into the tub, that’s how it pulled all of us to the fire. The smoke got thicker the closer we got, a nice stiff breeze out of the north whupping upon us, the day breeze. As we got closer, I began to think that maybe I should be going the other direction. Had no choice, though. I was in that damn truck.

We scarfed down our burgers as we trucked out there, Samm eating one-handed and driving with the other hand, a sort of frightening sight. I understood, though. It might be a while until we ate again. Soon enough we got to the logging camp. Samm didn’t even close his door or yank out the keys to the truck — in fact, he left it running. The only thing he did was turn it around so it faced out, toward the road. I understood. That was our lifeboat.

“Grace, you take Freddy and Jimmo,” Samm shouted. “Work on keeping the fire from jumping the road.”

“And if it jumps the road?” she asked.

“That won’t happen. Hold the line,” Samm said.

“Hold the line,” Grace mumbled. “Right.” She pointed at me and Freddy. “Freddy, you’ve got a red card. Jimmo, grab a chainsaw and a Pulaski and do what Freddy tells you. Come with me.” Grace had picked up a Pulaski, this ax-like thing that was also a pick, and we rushed up to the road side of that big clearing.

Someone had started up one of those feller-bunchers and slowly — it’s not like they moved all that fast anyway — moved toward a line of dead trees up the road. Thick smoke rolled downhill toward us, but in all the smoke I couldn’t see any flames. Maybe that was good, maybe that was bad, I just fucking didn’t know.

“Might as well attack that line of trees,” Grace said, pointing across the road from the camp. A standing clump of red, almost needleless trees lined the road across the way. It seemed kind of stupid, a logging camp surrounded by a dead forest. Later, Samm told me that it was a land dispute, this land owned by someone from Outside who hadn’t seen the land in twenty years and didn’t understand that the whole fucking forest had died and the trees had to come down. This was war. You did what you did to stop the fire and to hell with property rights.

The little forest narrowed down into a V as it came to the road. Grace explained that I should break up the grass and other ground flammables on either side of the V as she and Freddy felled trees. They began lopping off trees so they fell uphill, into the fire and a big slash pile. Even though the trees had died, they still had branches and witches’ brooms and shit that could catch fire. A lot of the dead trees had punky middles, which made them harder to burn. If you could fell ’em the middle wouldn’t catch fire and it would slow the burn down. Mainly, Grace explained in all the chaos, in a calm voice that made me listen closer, “Mainly we don’t want a crown fire, where the tops burn.” A crown fire was like a whole new level of shit.

With all the smoke and the heat I couldn’t tell if we fought back the fire or just wasted a lot of good burger fuel for nothing. I’d cut trenches in the dry underbrush, exposing dirt, so that if the fire burned out of the slash piles we made it wouldn’t go further. Grace said we were making a back burn, creating our own little Dresden there so that the big Tokyo of a fire wouldn’t have anything else to burn. You understand? Of course not, you assholes don’t know history. Dresden was like this quaint little city the Allies firebombed in Double-Ya-Double-Ya Two, and Tokyo another example of 20th Century martial urban renewal.

Get into the flow of something like that, where you’re not quite sure you’ll live but hope to fuck you don’t die, and after a while, time is nothing. Time doesn’t slow down, it doesn’t stop, it just no longer becomes a marker by which the universe gets measured. It isn’t when it once was. What mattered to me was the dirt I exposed, the flames that didn’t cross the road, and the fire that burned itself out.

You just fought. My uncle who was in the war said that once: You just fought. First came chaos and then an organization of chaos and then chaos became your local reality, and you understood it. It developed its own rules and everything and quit being chaos. I focused entirely on one task, one general series of movements: lift Pulaski, dig into ground, turn over dirt, lift Pulaski again, repeat as necessary.

Eventually, though, this new reality came into being, a new form of chaos which I realized with a start was the way the world had been some time ago. The smoke seemed thinner, the heat less. Between Grace and Freddy and that guy on the feller buncher (which I still thought was a rocket launcher), the forest in front of us turned into a big bonfire, controlled and orderly and consuming itself and not more forest. I saw around me that other workers scrambled with wet rugs or sheets stamping out fires from falling ashes that had fallen on the wind. Other than that, the fire had not crossed the road.

“We held the line,” Grace said, but with a tone of voice that said she didn’t believe it.

“Held the line,” Freddy said.

“Did it,” I said.

“Did it. Damn it, we did it!” Grace raised her chainsaw in triumph.

“Shoulda done it faster,” Kyle said from behind us. “It almost got away from us. It got one of the fuel trucks.”

Grace glared at him, bandana long ago fallen away, but her hair still in perfect shape, only with so much smoke and ash that it looked like a black helmet. “We held the line, Kyle.”

“I really need you to listen to me closer, Grace,” Kyle said. “I’m only offering criticism for your own good.”

“Oh, fuck —”

She didn’t get the next words out. Freddy shoved her aside and they both rolled toward me, almost knocking me down. I stepped aside and let them fall, then looked up to see why Freddy had tackled Grace. The guy with the feller buncher held a burning tree in the claws of his machine. Smoke obscured his vision and he couldn’t quite see where he was going. The machine stopped and the guy let down that log, branches still on it, the crown roaring.

We later figured out that he must have seen a tree on our side of the road that caught fire, just one tree, and in our complacency we missed it. He didn’t, though. Guy saved the day, he did, and what did it matter what happened next?

He dropped the tree. Just like I’ll always remember that shred of metal whirling at me when the Zapata cannery blew up, I’ll remember that tree falling. It came down, right on an open part of the airstrip, which was what the feller-buncher dude was aiming for, a nice open spot. All would have been well and this story might have turned out different, if not that the tree in its falling, a branch of the tree in its falling, nicked Kyle.

“I need you to step aside,” I wanted to say, but couldn’t. I’ll feel a little guilty forever after that I didn’t.

The tree came down. The branch nicked Kyle. The tip was sharp. As it fell, it knocked off his helmet, and sliced right through his left ear, your basic Van Gogh chop job. Kyle reached up with his left hand, held it to his ear, and then looked down at a glob of blood in his palm. He didn’t scream, I’ll give him credit for that, but he did look mildly uncomfortable.

When Kyle’s helmet came off, this amazing pouf of silver-blond hair sprung straight up, kind of a Disco Do, just whisping over his ears and falling boyishly over Kyle’s forehead — over his squinty little eyes. But then a spark or a little flame from the burning tree hit his hair, and kawoosh, it went up like a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol, and inside of two seconds, Kyle went totally bald, nothing more than ashes on his scalp.

He rolled forward, over and over like you got taught in grade school to put out a fire if for some chance, hey, a burning tree fell on top of you and lit your precious little Disco ’Do on fire. Kyle slapped at his head and his ears, or what was left of the left one. His right leg stuck out kinda funny, and for a moment I thought it was broken. It was broken, I swear. Kyle reached down and twisted and turned it, then stood up.

His right ear dangled by a little thread of cartilage, only it didn’t bleed. At least, I thought his right ear had been ripped off, too. Kyle turned away from us for a second, did something to the side of his head, and turned back. He did this kind of dancing jig thing, took a deep breath, and smiled.

“Kyle, man, your ear got ripped off,” Samm said. “Are you OK?”

He reached up, felt for the bloody patch, reached down to the ground and picked up something that looked like a shriveled up mushroom. Kyle smeared that thing against the stump of his left ear, then smiled.

“What ear?” he asked.

Samm looked at Kyle, over at us, back at Kyle. He started to say something, then shook his head.

“Good as new,” Grace said.

Ayup, I thought.

Except he put the ear back on backwards.

 

 

Buy Links:

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30650517-truck-stop-earth

 

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HN3JAJS

 

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truck-stop-earth-michael-a-armstrong/1123961595?ean=9780997531008

 

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/truck-stop-earth-1

 

Michael and Leia bw

 

Author Biography:

Michael Armstrong was born in Virginia in 1956, grew up in Tampa, Florida, and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1979. He has lived in Homer, Alaska, since 1994. He attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop and received a bachelor of arts from New College of Florida and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. His first novel is After the Zap. Michael’s short fiction has been published in Asimov’s, The Magazine of Science Fiction, Fiction Quarterly, and various anthologies, including Not of Woman Born, a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and several Heroes In Hell anthologies. His other novels include Agviq, The Hidden War, and Bridge Over Hell, part of the Perseid Press Heroes in Hell universe.

 

Michael has taught creative writing composition, and dog mushing. He is a reporter and photographer for the Homer News. He and his wife, Jenny Stroyeck, live in small house they built themselves on Diamond Ridge above Homer, which they share with an incredibly adorable labradoodle.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/michael.a.armstrong.writer/

Twitter https://twitter.com/maaarmstrang

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4100550.Michael_A_Armstrong

Publisher http://www.theperseidpress.com/

Truck Stop Earth New #Excerpt + Jim Morris #BookReview @Perseid_Press #books #UFO


 truckstop_EBOOK

 

Title: Truck Stop Earth

Author:  Michael A. Armstrong

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Aliens, UFO

Publisher: Perseid Press

Release Date: August 1, 2016

 

Book Blurb:

The mother of all alien bases. The big one, the megabase, the center of the Alien Occupation Government, the headquarters, the brain, the nerve center, the absolute pinpoint big base, right there, right in the hills above Della. Forget Roswell. Forget Machu Picchu. Forget Stonehenge and Tikal and all those alleged alien bases, abandoned every one of them. This was the big one, right now, the source of all my troubles, the world’s troubles, the whole solar system’s troubles. Right there.

 

Out there across the valley, shining across it like a beacon, was a big flat mountain. “Oly’s Mountain” I later heard it called, or Table Top, some said. I could feel it, feel the humming and the disruption of the ether right down to my bones. I didn’t even have to take out my little pocket detector that’s disguised as a Swiss Army knife. I knew, I just knew. And my butt chip burned like an exploded capsule of sulfuric acid. God damn, right there in the mountain — not on it, in it.

 

Book Trailer:

 

Excerpt:

The guy was really skinny, now that I looked at him, with long arms and long legs, only a short little torso. His arm seemed to bend where arms usually didn’t bend, high up toward the shoulder, so his lower arms flopped around like eels. He had a pointed chin covered with a thick red beard, only the hair sticking out of his floppy black pile beret was coal black streaked with gray.  Either the hair covered his ears or he didn’t have ears. He had long narrow feet and wore purple tennis shoes. I walked lightly on the sand, my usual stealth walk that an old Indian had taught me, but even then, at five yards the guy swiveled his face around to look at me. The way he moved his head, and that he could turn his head 135 degrees, clinched it for me.

 

Yup, he was a Gray all right.

 

OK, plus my butt chip seared like a hot poker. I can spot aliens easily, or spot people who look like aliens easily. The thing is, after nearly 500 years of occupation, people look more and more like the aliens, or maybe the aliens look more and more like us. It’s not that we interbreed or anything — that would be like a platypus breeding with a duck — but that over time the aliens have corrupted our body memes and we’ve corrupted theirs.

 

“Rat Hole’s closed to camping,” he said to me as I came up to him.

 

“Got a chit,” I said. I showed him the little piece of stamped metal.

 

“‘Kay.” He had that little click some of the aliens have, not quite a lisp, just a click. “I’m Tom. I run the Rat Hole.”

 

“Name?” Tom asked me. I gave him my cover name, and that’s all he cared about. No address or city or any of that shit. Maybe Tom knew I’d lie or maybe it didn’t matter to him. He handed me a flimsy, a sheet of paper his tablet spat out.

 

I took the flimsy and saw that Tom even used the alien font they like so much, the funny one that makes all our Roman letters slanted backwards, and puts serifs on some letters and not on others. That really pissed me off. You’d think that an alien occupation government that had secretly controlled the world for half a millennium would at least be coy. Assholes.

 

“Read it,” Tom said, “Them’s the rules. Break any rule and you’re out on your butt. Understand?”

 

I nodded. The only rule that really mattered was “Don’t get caught.”

 

“Say it.”

 

I squinted at that. That meant he was recording and didn’t want to waste the storage space on recording a nod. “I understand.”

 

“Cool.” He pointed his finger at me in that stupid little cocked gun gesture. Shit, I really hate that. Aliens are like pit bulls gnawing on a good bone: once they find something they like, they stick with it. Tom waved at the camping area, logs and stuff around it and maybe a few spots left. “Camp anywhere inside the logs and don’t rip up any vegetation.”

 

“Cool,” I said, and pointed my finger back at him, same gesture. I even put a little click at the end. He turned his head at that, smiled that pointy-toothed grin the long Grays have, and walked away.

 

So, I thought. Already a day in Della and I’d found my first alien.

 

I couldn’t wait to toast the fucker.

 

Amazon Review:

“The most important thing to know about this book is that it’s fun. It is, in fact the most fun I’ve had reading a book in a long time. Other books have perhaps explored more profound emotions but if you want to spend a few hours alternating between a grin, a rolling chuckle, and laughing out loud you probably won’t do better with anything contemporary.

 

What we have here is the memoir of a screaming nutjob, as told to author Michael A. Armstrong. The nutjob in question, James Ignatius Malachi Obediah Osborn is a multiple alien abductee, fierce fighter in the Resistance movement against the Alien Occupying Government. He can spot ‘em among the general population, because he knows their disguise tricks. Or maybe he’s just nuts, hard to say.

 

That’s where a lot of the tension in the story comes from. Some of what he believes is pretty convincing. Some of it just seems loony tunes.

 

After a scary encounter with the grays in Florida Jimmo heads for Alaska where the adventure continues. Aside from maybe being nuts Jimmo is a pretty competent fellow who can find work and do it well, fighting fires while fending off alien attacks.

 

He purports to be a spec ops veteran of Desert Storm, although while others were defeating Saddam he was further out in the desert, hunting grays with Delta Force. Thing is, he still talks the talk right. The guy has definitely been somewhere and done something.

 

Another thing this books does well is present the society of adventurous spirits who have absconded to Alaska as the last frontier where you can get a decent latte. A more brave and gaudy collection of tatted, pierced and bizarrely coifed expats can hardly be imagined. And, to paraphrase Ronnie Hawkins, Jimmo gets more trim than Frank Sinatra.

 

Warning: if you have a problem with people who unabashedly talk nasty, well, maybe you should read Jane Austen instead.” – Jim Morris, Vine Voice

 

Buy Links:

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30650517-truck-stop-earth

 

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HN3JAJS

 

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truck-stop-earth-michael-a-armstrong/1123961595?ean=9780997531008

 

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/truck-stop-earth-1

 

Michael and Leia bw

 

Author Biography:

Michael Armstrong was born in Virginia in 1956, grew up in Tampa, Florida, and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1979. He has lived in Homer, Alaska, since 1994. He attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop and received a bachelor of arts from New College of Florida and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. His first novel is After the Zap. Michael’s short fiction has been published in Asimov’s, The Magazine of Science Fiction, Fiction Quarterly, and various anthologies, including Not of Woman Born, a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and several Heroes In Hell anthologies. His other novels include Agviq, The Hidden War, and Bridge Over Hell, part of the Perseid Press Heroes in Hell universe.

 

Michael has taught creative writing composition, and dog mushing. He is a reporter and photographer for the Homer News. He and his wife, Jenny Stroyeck, live in small house they built themselves on Diamond Ridge above Homer, which they share with an incredibly adorable labradoodle.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/michael.a.armstrong.writer/

Twitter https://twitter.com/maaarmstrang

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4100550.Michael_A_Armstrong

Publisher http://www.theperseidpress.com/

Meet @maaarmstrang, the Author Behind Truck Stop Earth #books #scifi #writing


I’m so excited because today it’s our great pleasure to have Michael A. Armstrong on the blog. He’s the genius behind the upcoming novel, Truck Stop Earth, published by Perseid Press. Even though he’s extremely busy, he managed a few moment to sit down for an interview. I loved getting to know him better and I know you will, too. So, please give Michael a warm welcome. Take it away, Michael:

 

What is your writing process?

I think about what I’m writing as much as the actual fingers-to-keyboard writing. My novels are like icebergs: there’s a lot floating underneath that you don’t see beyond the written word. I’m constantly thinking about my current book or short story — sometimes, many books or short stories. When I start a novel I get a big fat journal and start making notes, some random, some focused. I have sections titled “setting” or “characters,” but I also have sections like “stuff that needs to happen.” I keep checking back to my journal constantly.

 

Truck Stop Earth took about five years to write. I worked on it in drib and drabs between my day job as a reporter at the Homer News. I finished the book during a residency with the Escape to Create program through the Seaside Institute. I stayed in a condo at Watercolor, a development near Seaside, Fla. Every morning I’d get up, have breakfast, and read the paper. About 9 a.m. I’d start writing, taking short coffee breaks and work until lunch. After lunch I would take a beach walk. Any problems or issues that came up in my novel I would puzzle out on the walk. Sometimes I just let my mind wander, not thinking about the book, which in a way also is thinking about the book. After my afternoon walk, I’d dive back into writing, writing until dinner. I put in a regular day, about six to eight hours of focused writing. In three weeks I wrote 20,000 words and finished the novel. In a perfect world, that would be my writing process. Write, walk on the beach, write.

 

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

I don’t puzzle over names too much. I like odd and unusual names, or variations of normal names. Names should not get in the way of knowing and identifying characters.  One trick I’ve always used is to make the sounds of character names different. There will only be one character whose name starts with “L,” for example, or not an Ike if there also is a Mike.

 

In After the Zap, though, I paid more attention to names than usual. In the post-nuke world I created, an electromagnetic pulse fried people’s brains. Most lost the ability to read and lost the concept of naming. They knew a word would identify who they were, but they didn’t understand why some words would be names and not others. My main character, Holmes Weatherby III, went around naming people. He understood that pieces of plastic or paper on them indicated their name, but he didn’t understand the concept of identification. Thus when he named a woman, she had a card for a vacuum cleaner salesperson on her, and so she became “Electrolux,” or “Lucy.”

 

Have you always liked to write?

Yes. The idea of contemplating the world through writing came to me at an early age. I had a grandmother, Anne Hughes Jander, who wrote, and she loved to tell stories to her grandchildren. That inspired my own wonky and weird imagination. I remember at the age of 10 in fourth grade being given the challenge of using that week’s spelling words in a story. My teacher, Gloria Parrino, read the stories aloud, so I got that little ego boost that sustains writers. I pretty much knew by age 15 that I would be a writer.

 

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

I have a short story, Asystole, that I’m finishing up. I’m troubled by the end and can’t quite figure that one out. I’m also working on a novel, Borderers, that involves Scottish Borderers made immortal in an arcane and very science-fictional way. The immortals get into a feud with each other and things get very nasty.

 

Do you have a favorite spot to write? What is it?

When we built our little 16-foot-by-20-cabin here in Homer on Diamond Ridge, I wrote in a corner of the cabin. Then I built a little 8-foot-by-12-foot office and wrote there. When we added on and expanded our cabin into a house with bedrooms and such, my wife and I each got an office. She has her art studio and I have my writing office. My writing desk has a little window that looks out on a meadow and forest and, if I squint, a hint of the Kenai Mountains beyond. I keep the curtain closed, though, so I don’t get distracted.

 

 

What secret talents do you have?

I’m a finder. If things get lost, I sometimes find them. I had a roommate who constantly lost his car keys. He’d fumble around for a few minutes, and then I would go over to a couch or shelf or wherever and hand him his keys. I just knew where he’d left them. I walk the beaches frequently here in Homer and have found many strange and unusual things like glass floats, cell phones, marine radios and cremated remains (still sealed in a box).

 

Do you have any scars? What are they from?

I have the usual assortment of faded scars from childhood injuries. The scariest scar is on my left chest, just above my heart, from where three years ago I got a pacemaker implanted. I got the pacemaker after passing out four times in one morning on Memorial Day 2013. It turned out I had vaso vagal syncope, a condition that causes you to pass out when the vagal nerve gets stimulated, like when I kept throwing up. I also have sick sinus syndrome and bradycardia. When I pass out, my heart rate drops very, very low, and then my blood pressure. All these things came together in a bizarre medical crisis. The fourth time I passed out, I flat lined and I went into systole for 53 seconds. In effect, I died. I like to say I went into the Big Black. All turned out well. After a medevac flight from my home in Homer, Alaska, to an Anchorage hospital, I got a pacemaker. It keeps my heart rate from falling below 50 beats per minute — and not dying.

 

What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?

I’m the youngest child and the only boy with three older sisters. I was sick a lot. I also read like crazy. I had and still have a vivid imagination. I was that strange little kid who lived down the street that no one really understood. I got along well with other kids, though. They called me Professor.

 

My favorite toy was LEGOs. A German cousin gave me a starter kit. LEGO in the 1960s when I was growing up didn’t mean assembling something from a box that came in pieces and had a plan. You got all these random pieces and you built stuff on your own. I used to build tiny little starships.

 

What do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

I dream a lot about dead people. I have a recurring dream where I’m in the house I lived in Tampa, Fla. My dad is there, though he’s been dead since 1982. Other people are in the house, like family of the woman my dad married two months before he died. Sometimes I will see dead people in my dreams and I know they’re dead and they know they’re dead, but it’s as if they’re still alive. In one dream I saw my Uncle Warren, who has been dead since 1991, and I could touch and hug him. “But you’re dead,” I told him, and he said, “Well, I know that. So?”

 

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

I have this tradition. When I turn a big decade, like 50, I go someplace foreign I’ve always wanted to visit. At 50, I went to Scotland. This year at 60, I went to Paris. When I was a boy I had an uncle who encouraged his nieces and nephews to study abroad in some place they spoke a foreign language. Uncle Owen would match up to $100 whatever we saved that year. At one point there was talk of colonies on the moon and how that might happen soon. I told Uncle Owen I wanted to study on the moon. So maybe when I turned 90 or 100, if I live that long, I can celebrate my birthday on the moon. I want to go to the moon. Antarctica would do as a second-best.

 

truckstop_EBOOK

 

Title: Truck Stop Earth

Author:  Michael A. Armstrong

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Aliens, UFO

Publisher: Perseid Press

Release Date: August 1, 2016

 

Book Blurb:

The mother of all alien bases. The big one, the megabase, the center of the Alien Occupation Government, the headquarters, the brain, the nerve center, the absolute pinpoint big base, right there, right in the hills above Della. Forget Roswell. Forget Machu Picchu. Forget Stonehenge and Tikal and all those alleged alien bases, abandoned every one of them. This was the big one, right now, the source of all my troubles, the world’s troubles, the whole solar system’s troubles. Right there.

 

Out there across the valley, shining across it like a beacon, was a big flat mountain. “Oly’s Mountain” I later heard it called, or Table Top, some said. I could feel it, feel the humming and the disruption of the ether right down to my bones. I didn’t even have to take out my little pocket detector that’s disguised as a Swiss Army knife. I knew, I just knew. And my butt chip burned like an exploded capsule of sulfuric acid. God damn, right there in the mountain — not on it, in it.

 

Book Trailer:

 

Excerpt:

I heard kind of a humming up ahead, and I looked up and saw this weird green beam like a big cylinder of light rising up above me.

 

Standing in front of me was this Gray. I didn’t know of it as a Gray, of course, not then, but I’d seen pictures, because of that guy’s book he wrote about twenty years ago. Big snake head, big eyes, puny little body, pallid icky skin with that talcum powder dust like it had walked through an ash tray, and, of course, that silly gee-gaw infested ray gun Grays like to carry to impress people, but that looked so suck ass silly you had to laugh rather than be intimidated.

 

I’d heard stories, of course, and knew what was going to happen. Well, two things. Either the Gray would just shoot me outright, turn me into randomly reassembled atoms, or I would get sucked up into the mother ship. I looked up again at that beam of light, saw it slide along toward me, and then it sucked the Gray up, and it went zipping above along. I closed my eyes, not wanting to see the beam hit me, but I felt it, oh yeah, I felt it.

 

Actually, it felt kind of cool once I relaxed and enjoyed it. That first second scared the shit out of me, though. You know how it feels to jump off a high tower into the water, where you just keep falling and falling? The first second of being sucked into an alien tractor beam feels like that. The following second, or the next moment after the beam pulls you up and you leave the ground, once you’re in the beam, it’s way cool.

 

So I rose up in the beam, and it didn’t feel like I was flying, didn’t feel like I was falling. I just felt like I was standing on a big wad of jello, and then once the ride was over, there I was inside a big huge room. I stood there, not so much scared to move as figuring when you’d just got sucked up by an alien mother ship, and a Gray stood there with a strange weapon, silly or not, calm and reasoned introspection and a hesitancy to make any sudden moves might be a good idea.

 

“Welcome on board,” the alien then said with a man’s voice — actually, it sounded like Jimmy Carter, because of that recording on Pioneer 10, before they started expanding their vocal repertoire. “We’re just glad to have y’all visit us.”

 

Then I looked over and saw this incredibly gorgeous woman, I mean, a flat-out, gorgeous, tanned blonde, totally naked and with her hair spreading out in all directions like she was in the middle of a hurricane. Very Cosmopolitan. If she was alien, those fuckers had done a damn good job of faking a human, and if she was human, well, she either was incredibly lucky in the big genetic beauty contest or had one hell of a plastic surgeon.

 

“Don’t believe a word they say,” she said. “They’re just out to butt fuck you. And they’ll probably want us to have sex.”

 

“I can live with that,” I said. “I mean, the butt fucking,” I quickly added, because I didn’t want to come on too strong.

 

She laughed at that and walked toward me, her hair still whipping around her face, except when she got close to me I couldn’t feel a breeze. Her hand slid down the sides of my body, down my arms, my waist, and to my biking shorts. With a swift tug she yanked down my pants, raised an eyebrow when she saw I didn’t wear underpants, raised another eyebrow when she saw my Clinton big and throbbing and ready to tutor an intern, and then whipped me around.

 

“Close your eyes and think of England,” she said.

 

Buy Links:

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30650517-truck-stop-earth

 

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HN3JAJS

 

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truck-stop-earth-michael-a-armstrong/1123961595?ean=9780997531008

 

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/truck-stop-earth-1

 

Michael and Leia bw

 

Author Biography:

Michael Armstrong was born in Virginia in 1956, grew up in Tampa, Florida, and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1979. He has lived in Homer, Alaska, since 1994. He attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop and received a bachelor of arts from New College of Florida and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. His first novel is After the Zap. Michael’s short fiction has been published in Asimov’s, The Magazine of Science Fiction, Fiction Quarterly, and various anthologies, including Not of Woman Born, a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and several Heroes In Hell anthologies. His other novels include Agviq, The Hidden War, and Bridge Over Hell, part of the Perseid Press Heroes in Hell universe.

 

Michael has taught creative writing composition, and dog mushing. He is a reporter and photographer for the Homer News. He and his wife, Jenny Stroyeck, live in small house they built themselves on Diamond Ridge above Homer, which they share with an incredibly adorable labradoodle.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/michael.a.armstrong.writer/

Twitter https://twitter.com/maaarmstrang

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4100550.Michael_A_Armstrong

Publisher http://www.theperseidpress.com/

#TuesdayBookBlog – Truck Stop Earth by @maaarmstrang #bookreview #eroticscifi


truckstop_EBOOK

 

Title: Truck Stop Earth

Author:  Michael A. Armstrong

Genre: Science Fiction, UFO, Black Humor

Publisher: Perseid Press

Release Date: August 1, 2016

 

Book Blurb:

The mother of all alien bases. The big one, the megabase, the center of the Alien Occupation Government, the headquarters, the brain, the nerve center, the absolute pinpoint big base, right there, right in the hills above Della. Forget Roswell. Forget Machu Picchu. Forget Stonehenge and Tikal and all those alleged alien bases, abandoned every one of them. This was the big one, right now, the source of all my troubles, the world’s troubles, the whole solar system’s troubles. Right there.

 

Out there across the valley, shining across it like a beacon, was a big flat mountain. “Oly’s Mountain” I later heard it called, or Table Top, some said. I could feel it, feel the humming and the disruption of the ether right down to my bones. I didn’t even have to take out my little pocket detector that’s disguised as a Swiss Army knife. I knew, I just knew. And my butt chip burned like an exploded capsule of sulfuric acid. God damn, right there in the mountain — not on it, in it.

 

Book Trailer:

 

My Review:

The X-Files meets Penthouse Forum.  That is the simple definition of a rollicking good time sci fi book.

 

I know for a fact that the first line here has already had one person put it on their ‘to buy’ list.

 

Not really a book about battling aliens – it is the story of Jimmo as he spends a lot of time talking about his experiences with aliens while he has sex with many different women, often in great detail!  Salacious, somewhat foul mouthed but hey, you can’t have more than a half a dozen graphic sex scenes without the odd naughty word.

 

I found the book captivating and an easy, fun read.  A very, very, very adult kind of Hitchhiker’s Guide to an Alien Conspiracy.  Never seen one like this before!

 

If there had been a tad more alien butt kicking I would have gone the max but it’s a fun, irreverent, raunchy read.  I recommend it to anyone 18 and over who likes a bit of smexy sauce with their sci fi.

 

My Rating:  4.5 stars

 

Buy it now:

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30650517-truck-stop-earth

 

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HN3JAJS

 

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truck-stop-earth-michael-a-armstrong/1123961595?ean=9780997531008

 

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/truck-stop-earth-1

 

Michael and Leia bw

 

Author Biography:

Michael Armstrong was born in Virginia in 1956, grew up in Tampa, Florida, and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1979. He has lived in Homer, Alaska, since 1994. He attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop and received a bachelor of arts from New College of Florida and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. His first novel is After the Zap. Michael’s short fiction has been published in Asimov’s, The Magazine of Science Fiction, Fiction Quarterly, and various anthologies, including Not of Woman Born, a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and several Heroes In Hell anthologies. His other novels include Agviq, The Hidden War, and Bridge Over Hell, part of the Perseid Press Heroes in Hell universe.

 

Michael has taught creative writing composition, and dog mushing. He is a reporter and photographer for the Homer News. He and his wife, Jenny Stroyeck, live in small house they built themselves on Diamond Ridge above Homer, which they share with an incredibly adorable labradoodle.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/michael.a.armstrong.writer/

Twitter https://twitter.com/maaarmstrang

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4100550.Michael_A_Armstrong

Publisher http://www.theperseidpress.com/

 

Reviewed by: Mr. N

Writing for Shared Universes: Guest Post by @WestonAndrew #amwriting #books #SFF


hellboundLARGE

 

As some of my readers will be aware, as well as being the creator of the IX Series (The IXExordium of TearsPrelude to Sorrow – TBR) I also devised the rather dark and devilishly intense character of Daemon Grim.

 

Now, this guy is none other than the Grim Reaper himself, Satan’s chief bounty hunter and go-to guy in times of trouble, and you get to read about his trials and tribulations in the #1 international bestseller, Hell Bound, and the sequel due toward the end of this year through Perseid Press, Hell Hounds.

 

The thing is, there’s more to the Reaper than first meets the eye, as his exploits form part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe.

HIH

 

Don’t know what Heroes in Hell is all about?
Heroes in Hell is a series of shared world fantasy books, within the genre Bangsian fantasy, created and edited by Janet Morris and written by her, Chris Morris, C. J. Cherryh and others. The first 12 books in the series were published by Baen Books between 1986 and 1989. The series was resurrected in 2011 by Janet Morris with the thirteenth book and eighth anthology in the series, Lawyers in Hell, followed by four more anthologies and two novels between 2012 and 2015.
Of note is the fact the stories from the series include one Hugo Award winner and two Nebula nominees.

 

The shared world premise of Heroes in Hell (also called The Damned Saga) is that all the dead wind up together in Hell, a devilishly wicked arena where anything and everything can go wrong in the relentless pursuit of their various ends.

 

Here’s the list of recent releases since 2011:

Lawyers in Hell
Rogues in Hell
Bridge over Hell
Dreamers in Hell
Poets in Hell
Doctors in Hell
Hell Bound

 

So, why would I want to contribute to a shared universe? The answer is simple– For the challenge.

 

Think about it. With the IX Series, I can basically do whatever I want. I can have as many protagonists and antagonists as I see fit. Run them through hoops. Put them here, there, everywhere and make them fit just about any situation I care to conjure up. On the other hand, when it comes to writing for Heroes in Hell, I can’t do that.

 

A shared universe is governed by its own fundamental forces. It has its own rules, as to where and when its sets. Principles govern it subjects regarding their interaction with each other and the realms they live in. Simply put, there are limitations on what you can and cannot do, especially if your story includes characters ‘owned’ by another contributor.

 

Daemon Grim, for example, is leader of the Hell Hounds, (a select cadre of damned hunters) and the Inquisitors (Satan’s special interrogators). Because these individuals are of ‘my’ devising, I have a pretty long leash on what I am allowed to do with them – as long as I stay within the guidelines governing the Rules of Hell.

 

However, Grim and his cabal regularly interact with other notables, such as the Undertaker, the Kigali, and the Sibitti. These particular creatures ‘belong’ to other authors so I have to follow an adopted procedure.

 

First, I need permission to use them in my own stories. Second, I have to agree not to involve them in anything that can change their nature or cause permanent repercussions. And finally, I have to ensure they ‘stay in character’ when they interrelate with others.

 

For example, in Hell Hounds, there’s a scene where Grim faces off against the Sibitti. As personified weapons of the plague god Erra, the Sibitti have a distinct way of fighting. So I need to ensure I stay true to their modus operandi.

 

Do you see the challenge in this? I can’t simply think up a fight scene – my specialty – and go with my natural flow. I have to adopt the specific current those characters I’m borrowing adopt when in battle, and ensure I reflect that appropriately.

 

This is particularly apparent in the yearly themed compilations Heroes in Hell is famous for. Look at the list of recent releases from 2011, and you’ll see topics as diverse as lawyers and dreamers to poets and rogues. Grim, for example, was introduced in the 2015 Doctors in Hell anthology. The next selected theme – due for release in Fall 2016, is Pirates in Hell, a calling completely at odds to that of a doctor, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Do you see the variety this affords?

 

But you might think…hang on, doesn’t that make the larger books you write a little disjointed? Well, it could, if I didn’t keep a careful balance. Let me explain:

 

When Janet invited me to write for Heroes in Hell, we came up with the idea of leapfrogging the novels with the anthologies to keep things tight and integrate Grim more fully into the universe. So, Hell Bound follows on immediately after the action in Doctors. The forthcoming Pirates short story – Pieces of Hate – carries on Grim’s adventures three months after the events in Hell Bound. In turn, Pirates will lead into Hell Hounds, and so on and so forth. Do you see the forethought and planning this involves?
You might wonder, why on earth do I put myself through it?

 

That’s easy. I want to improve.

 

As writers, we owe it to ourselves and our readers to become the best we can be. Now, I’m a disciplined and focused person. I work hard to develop and nurture my own distinct “voice” which I hope is apparent in my work. The trouble is, when we rely solely on our own preferences, we can sometimes limit the extent to which we can mature.

 

I like contributing to the shared universe because the various themes touch on topics I wouldn’t normally consider. Doing so accelerates my learning curve and broadens my skills and experience. In the end, it’s you – the reader – that benefits.

 

Intrigued?

 

Well, if you want to find out more about the diversity of writing for a shared universe, check out some of the latest releases in Heroes in Hell. Some great writers contribute to every edition, and their various styles ensure there’s always something in the anthologies for everyone.

 

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

Perseid Press: http://www.theperseidpress.com/

 

Andrew Weston

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestsellers, The IX, and Hell Bound, (A novel forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with two of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for http://Astronaut.com  and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

 

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

 

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

 

Exclusive: Truck Stop Earth Excerpt + Trailer Reveal @maaarmstrang #SFF #books #bookbloggers


 banner-ad_TSE_1

 

Title: Truck Stop Earth

Author:  Michael A. Armstrong

Genre: Speculative Fiction , Literary, Magical Realism

Publisher: Perseid Press

Release Date: August 1, 2016

 

Book Trailer:

 

Book Blurb:

The mother of all alien bases. The big one, the megabase, the center of the Alien Occupation Government, the headquarters, the brain, the nerve center, the absolute pinpoint big base, right there, right in the hills above Della. Forget Roswell. Forget Machu Picchu. Forget Stonehenge and Tikal and all those alleged alien bases, abandoned every one of them. This was the big one, right now, the source of all my troubles, the world’s troubles, the whole solar system’s troubles. Right there.

 

Out there across the valley, shining across it like a beacon, was a big flat mountain. “Oly’s Mountain” I later heard it called, or Table Top, some said. I could feel it, feel the humming and the disruption of the ether right down to my bones. I didn’t even have to take out my little pocket detector that’s disguised as a Swiss Army knife. I knew, I just knew. And my butt chip burned like an exploded capsule of sulfuric acid. God damn, right there in the mountain — not on it, in it.

 

truckstop_EBOOK

 

Excerpt:

The guys in the black jumpsuits wanted to give me a ride.

 

I was walking along the side of the road six miles out of Beaver Creek, real peaceful like, digging the wildflowers and the beer cans and the little shreds of filter fabric sticking out of the edges, when I turned at the sound of a car coming from down the road. Not even thinking, I stuck my thumb out, but before I had a chance to pull it back in, the white Jeep Cherokee stopped. At first I thought they were camo dudes, like the ones who patrol around Area 51 at Groom Lake. Man, I hate those rent-a-grunts, but I guess they made it personal after that little incident when I blew their cover and listed their names and home addresses on the Web. ’Nother story.

 

I didn’t even have to look at their plates — Alaska blue ’n’ gold NRG lettered plates, and in Alaska they only go up to the J’s — to know who they were: AOGs, Agents of the Grays , Alien Occupation Government. They looked like batfags, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms goons, right down to the thin   Kevlar vests. Two of ’em, though, in the slick black jumpsuits.

 

“Need a ride, son?” asked the guy in the passenger’s side as he rolled down the window. Tinted windows, thick windows: armored, I knew.

 

“Just hiking, sir,” I said. Old habit from when I was in Delta Force. Any guy calls you “son,” you call them “sir.” I’d of saluted, but when Delta kicked me upstairs on special assignment as a deep cover agent in the Foreign Service, I swore off saluting. With my dreadlocks tucked up into my baseball cap, and the hair buzzed on the side of my head, that guy might of thought I was military with a high and tight, in civvies.

 

“We can give you a ride up to the border, son,” the guy went on.

 

“Only a couple of miles. I’ll walk the rest of the way.”

 

Then they got out. Right then I knew they were Grays because they had the mirrored sunglasses and the jerky legs. The Grays on bottom duty get face surgery so they look normal — real noses, mouths, and ears — but the big triangular eyes are hard to fake. Takes a lot of bone surgery, so most of them just wear big sunglasses. And the Grays have long torsos but stumpy legs, kind of like that Frog painter Hangin’ Too Loose Lowtrec, so to look human, they walk on these like stilts. Our high gravity really messes them up, though, so they never get good at it. You learn these things when you become an enemy of the bigheads like me.

 

The driver was a wymmin, I mean, I knew the type, feminazis: big broad shoulders and almost no boobs, and fat hips. She had short hair just over her ear flaps and long bangs. Female Grays don’t like to alter their ear flaps. They’re really weird that way: they think those vestigial flaps are the sexiest thing. For all I know, that’s how they screw. Go figure. Aliens are really strange.

 

So the wymmin Gray got out, same klutzy walk, and they both gimped over to me, looking real tall, but I knew I could kick their legs out from under them. ’Course, iffen I did that, they’d blast me to cinders, but it’s nice to know I had the option to damage them before I died. They leaned up against that white Jeep Cherokee with the funny windows, hooking their thumbs in their belts. Those Grays watch too many of our Western movies, if you ask me. Someone ought to tell them, or at least turn ‘em on to some Mel Gibson thrillers so they can learn a new attitude . . .

 

“You’re kind of out here in the middle of nowhere,” the wymmin says. She had one of those squeaky high voices their females have. It always flips me out. You see a big momma like that, and then she has this high voice.

 

“Yes ma’am,” I said. “I’m used to walking.”

 

“So we’ll give you a ride to the border,” she said. “Across the border, make it easy on you. Into Tok. You must be going that way.”

 

“Might take a right at Tositna and go up to Chicken,” I said. “Do some gold mining.”

 

“Yeah.” The guy scratched his balls, in that sympathetic gesture guys make to each other, sort of like saying, Balls, what a pain, huh? Only I knew he was re-adjusting the servos on his stilts.

 

“So you sure you don’t want a lift?” The wymmin Gray glared at me through her glasses. I knew she was scanning me. Hell, I knew they had me pegged already. They’d put a chip in my butt after my first abduction near Cedar Key (see Chapter 16), so they could track me like that, you bet.

 

“Don’t wanna trouble you,” I said.

 

“No trouble,” the guy said.

 

“Still . . . “ I stared off into the distance, thinking of Hannah. I figured if they were scanning me, they’d pick up the increase in blood pressure and the little woody I was working up. “I’m sort of hoping for a ride with this babe I met in Beaver Creek.” I grinned, and the guy Gray grinned back, showing me his stumpy little tongue.

 

“Gotcha,” he said, winking and making a little gun with his fingers and shooting it at me. Really. They ought to watch some old Bond movies if they wanted some better clichés.

 

“Dude,” I said.

 

The wymmin nodded and the guy nodded and they got back in the white Cherokee and drove over the hill and probably to one of their shuttle crafts. A few minutes later, the Coasties who had given me a ride 500 miles down the road picked me up again.

 

When the Coasties dropped me off just before the border, I saw the black helicopters.

 

Welcome to Alaska, I thought. Now go home.

 

Limited Time Offer From Perseid Press:

For a very short and unspecified time, Perseid Press is offering a free preview copy of Truck Stop Earth. Readers may download FREE e-galleys of Truck Stop Earth from Netgalley.com by simply signing into Netgalley and clicking on Browse Publishers to get to Perseid Press.  Once at Perseid Press, you can click on Truck Stop Earth and receive either a free mobi or e-pub.

This is an experimental introductory offer for readers and reviewers who want to get a jump on publication. And, if you wish, you can review the book on NetGalley, or anywhere else you choose.

The giveaway will end without notice and is a short term offer. Once the offer ends, Truck Stop Earth will be available to buy from Kindle, Nook, and select additional e-retailers.

Readers can get directly to the Truck Stop Earth NetGalley page in the NetGalley catalogue  by clicking here:  https://s2.netgalley.com/catalog/book/92382

After clicking, you’ll need to click “Preview” so you can sign in or register (registration is free). Then you can choose your preferred format and receive your free copy.

So really it boils down to:  Be smart.  Be quick.  Get your complementary copy of the e-galley for Truck Stop Earth right now. Read it and spread the word…

 

Buy Links:

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30650517-truck-stop-earth

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HN3JAJS

Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01HN3JAJS

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01HN3JAJS

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truck-stop-earth-michael-a-armstrong/1123961595?ean=9780997531008

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/truck-stop-earth-1

Publisher Book Page http://www.theperseidpress.com/?mbt_book=truck-stop-earth

 

Michael and Leia bw

 

Author Biography:

Michael Armstrong was born in Virginia in 1956, grew up in Tampa, Florida, and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1979. He has lived in Homer, Alaska, since 1994. He attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop and received a bachelor of arts from New College of Florida and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. His first novel is After the Zap. Michael’s short fiction has been published in Asimov’s, The Magazine of Science Fiction, Fiction Quarterly, and various anthologies, including Not of Woman Born, a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and several Heroes In Hell anthologies. His other novels include Agviq, The Hidden War, and Bridge Over Hell, part of the Perseid Press Heroes in Hell universe.

 

Michael has taught creative writing composition, and dog mushing. He is a reporter and photographer for the Homer News. He and his wife, Jenny Stroyeck, live in small house they built themselves on Diamond Ridge above Homer, which they share with an incredibly adorable labradoodle.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/michael.a.armstrong.writer/

Twitter https://twitter.com/maaarmstrang

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4100550.Michael_A_Armstrong

Publisher http://www.theperseidpress.com/

 

#CoverReveal – Truck Stop Earth by Michael A. Armstrong @Perseid_Press #SFF #books #FridayReads


 truckstop_EBOOK

 

Title: Truck Stop Earth

Author:  Michael A. Armstrong

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Aliens, Magical Realism

Publisher: Perseid Press

Release Date: August 1, 2016

 

Book Blurb:

The mother of all alien bases. The big one, the megabase, the center of the Alien Occupation Government, the headquarters, the brain, the nerve center, the absolute pinpoint big base, right there, right in the hills above Della. Forget Roswell. Forget Machu Picchu. Forget Stonehenge and Tikal and all those alleged alien bases, abandoned every one of them. This was the big one, right now, the source of all my troubles, the world’s troubles, the whole solar system’s troubles. Right there.

 

Out there across the valley, shining across it like a beacon, was a big flat mountain. “Oly’s Mountain” I later heard it called, or Table Top, some said. I could feel it, feel the humming and the disruption of the ether right down to my bones. I didn’t even have to take out my little pocket detector that’s disguised as a Swiss Army knife. I knew, I just knew. And my butt chip burned like an exploded capsule of sulfuric acid. God damn, right there in the mountain — not on it, in it.

 

Excerpt:

I heard kind of a humming up ahead, and I looked up and saw this weird green beam like a big cylinder of light rising up above me.

 

Standing in front of me was this Gray. I didn’t know of it as a Gray, of course, not then, but I’d seen pictures, because of that guy’s book he wrote about twenty years ago. Big snake head, big eyes, puny little body, pallid icky skin with that talcum powder dust like it had walked through an ash tray, and, of course, that silly gee-gaw infested ray gun Grays like to carry to impress people, but that looked so suck ass silly you had to laugh rather than be intimidated.

 

I’d heard stories, of course, and knew what was going to happen. Well, two things. Either the Gray would just shoot me outright, turn me into randomly reassembled atoms, or I would get sucked up into the mother ship. I looked up again at that beam of light, saw it slide along toward me, and then it sucked the Gray up, and it went zipping above along. I closed my eyes, not wanting to see the beam hit me, but I felt it, oh yeah, I felt it.

 

Actually, it felt kind of cool once I relaxed and enjoyed it. That first second scared the shit out of me, though. You know how it feels to jump off a high tower into the water, where you just keep falling and falling? The first second of being sucked into an alien tractor beam feels like that. The following second, or the next moment after the beam pulls you up and you leave the ground, once you’re in the beam, it’s way cool.

 

So I rose up in the beam, and it didn’t feel like I was flying, didn’t feel like I was falling. I just felt like I was standing on a big wad of jello, and then once the ride was over, there I was inside a big huge room. I stood there, not so much scared to move as figuring when you’d just got sucked up by an alien mother ship, and a Gray stood there with a strange weapon, silly or not, calm and reasoned introspection and a hesitancy to make any sudden moves might be a good idea.

 

“Welcome on board,” the alien then said with a man’s voice — actually, it sounded like Jimmy Carter, because of that recording on Pioneer 10, before they started expanding their vocal repertoire. “We’re just glad to have y’all visit us.”

 

Then I looked over and saw this incredibly gorgeous woman, I mean, a flat-out, gorgeous, tanned blonde, totally naked and with her hair spreading out in all directions like she was in the middle of a hurricane. Very Cosmopolitan. If she was alien, those fuckers had done a damn good job of faking a human, and if she was human, well, she either was incredibly lucky in the big genetic beauty contest or had one hell of a plastic surgeon.

 

“Don’t believe a word they say,” she said. “They’re just out to butt fuck you. And they’ll probably want us to have sex.”

 

“I can live with that,” I said. “I mean, the butt fucking,” I quickly added, because I didn’t want to come on too strong.

 

She laughed at that and walked toward me, her hair still whipping around her face, except when she got close to me I couldn’t feel a breeze. Her hand slid down the sides of my body, down my arms, my waist, and to my biking shorts. With a swift tug she yanked down my pants, raised an eyebrow when she saw I didn’t wear underpants, raised another eyebrow when she saw my Clinton big and throbbing and ready to tutor an intern, and then whipped me around.

 

“Close your eyes and think of England,” she said.

 

Buy Links:

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30650517-truck-stop-earth

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HN3JAJS

Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01HN3JAJS

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01HN3JAJS

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truck-stop-earth-michael-a-armstrong/1123961595?ean=9780997531008

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/truck-stop-earth-1

Publisher Book Page http://www.theperseidpress.com/?mbt_book=truck-stop-earth

 

Michael and Leia bw

 

Author Biography:

Michael Armstrong was born in Virginia in 1956, grew up in Tampa, Florida, and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1979. He has lived in Homer, Alaska, since 1994. He attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop and received a bachelor of arts from New College of Florida and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. His first novel is After the Zap. Michael’s short fiction has been published in Asimov’s, The Magazine of Science Fiction, Fiction Quarterly, and various anthologies, including Not of Woman Born, a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and several Heroes In Hell anthologies. His other novels include Agviq, The Hidden War, and Bridge Over Hell, part of the Perseid Press Heroes in Hell universe.

 

Michael has taught creative writing composition, and dog mushing. He is a reporter and photographer for the Homer News. He and his wife, Jenny Stroyeck, live in small house they built themselves on Diamond Ridge above Homer, which they share with an incredibly adorable labradoodle.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/michael.a.armstrong.writer/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4100550.Michael_A_Armstrong

Publisher http://www.theperseidpress.com/

 

The Reader of Acheron by Walter Rhein is a Must-Read! @swordreaver #Dystopian #Fantasy


13 10 25 READER Version Cover Spread FINAL

 

Title: The Reader of Acheron

Author: Walter Rhein

Genre: Heroic Fantasy / Adult Dystopian

Publisher: Perseid Press   http://www.theperseidpress.com/

 

Book Blurb:

Book One of the Slaves of Erafor series: Reading is forbidden, and the penalty for non-compliance is a life of slavery enabled by the forcible administration of a mind rotting drug. Yet, there are those possessed of the will to seek illumination. Kikkan, a former slave on the run, and Quillion, a mercenary and self-taught scholar. Together they seek out a small band of rebels living in hiding who offer the promise of a better world. Their leader is a mysterious figure known only as The Reader of Acheron.

 

My Review:

Imagine a world where reading is prohibited and anyone caught reading or in possession of books is sentenced to a life of slavery, forced to take a controlling substance which pretty much turns slaves into zombies. It’s my worst nightmare and unfortunately, this future is closer than we think.

 

Kikkan is a slave when we first meet him. His owner treats him well and doesn’t force him to take the zombie drugs. But Kikkan is still someone’s property and in a moment of rebellion, he forces his own freedom. He’s on the run but doesn’t know where he belongs, torn between two worlds.

 

Quillion is a member of the local militia and in need of freedom of his own. He and his buddy (Cole) strike out on their own. They happen upon a farmhouse and discover a roomful of treasures: books. Quillion confesses to Cole his ability to read letters and sentences but has yet to comprehend what he’s reading. Quillion reveals the man who taught him to read was none other than the Reader.

 

Both Kikkan and Quillion are on an epic journey of self-discovery and the power of reading. Both will face conflicts and everything they believe will be tested. It’s not until their paths cross that we finally understand what it means to be truly free.

 

This is my first book I have read by this author and I must tell you how much I enjoyed it. He’s a terrific storyteller who weaves philosophy into the story without the reader realizing it. After reading a passage, I had to stop and think about what just happened while contemplating how I’d handle the situation. The scenes with Kikkan were powerful and emotional because the author immerses the reader into the mind of a slave. Rhein strips away pretense and you’re left with raw emotion. Well done!

 

The characters were realistic and original, which is a feat in today’s publishing market. I connected with each of the characters and found it fascinating to see each one’s morality play out.

 

When I finished the book, one question echoed in my head: does the banning of reading make society better or worse?

 

My answer is clear: without books and improving one’s mind, society is much, much worse.

 

I can’t recommend this book enough! This should be read in every high school classroom and by every adult so we ensure this post-apocalyptic future never comes to fruition.

 

Favorite Character:

Quillion. I loved his thirst for knowledge and determined to improve his reading skills so that he can understand the meaning in each story. His attempting to read classic literature was a treat for me. He’s a cautious man but knows there’s someone out there who can help him.

 

Favorite Quote:

“It is the most dangerous weapon in the world. It can play tricks on you. It can drive an unconquerable warrior to take his own life. It can dupe a competent leader into a course of action that will spread death and destruction among his charges. Unless the mind has been disciplined it will consume you.”

 

My Rating:  5 stars

 

Buy it now:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HS1532E

 

Walter Rhein

 

Author Biography:

Walter Rhein was born in Wisconsin. After earning a degree in English Literature, he moved to Lima, Peru where he lived for close to a decade. While in Lima, he worked as a writer, translator, editor and English teacher. He still maintains a web page about Peru at StreetsOfLima.com. In 2009 he returned to Wisconsin with his wife because he missed the snow and sub freezing temperatures. These days he can often be found lurking on the Heroic Fantasy group on Facebook, or at HeroicFantasyWriters.com. To contact Walter for interviews or speaking engagements, write: walterrhein@gmail.com.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wrhein

Twitter @swordreaver

 

Reviewed by: Mrs. N

Meet Marcus Brutus from Exordium of Tears by @WestonAndrew #SFF #books


IXbanner-ad_exordium - Large

 

My name is Marcus Brutus, onetime Triari Centurion of the 9th Legion Hispania, dispatched with my brothers to quell the Celtic uprising in the cold and misty wastelands of Caledonia, north of Britannia. We failed in our mission due to the interference of powers beyond our understanding. Thinking we had been extended a reprieve at the moment of death, my brothers and I awakened on a far distant planet where we were given a simple ultimatum. Fight or Die. Yes, it seemed our skills were needed again, and thus began an unbelievable journey that emphasized a stark reality. Death is just the beginning of the adventure.

 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

To fulfill my duties with honor, and then be given an opportunity to leave a life of bloodshed behind. Before all this happened, I’d served Rome for many years and was determined to see the day when I retired, found a wife, and had the family with whom I could settle down and grow old and fat with. Just because my circumstances have changed doesn’t change my aspirations. One day, all this chaos, all this upheaval will be over, and I will make my dreams a reality.

 

What is your greatest fear?

That I might give way to fear in front of my enemy. Trepidation grips all soldiers from time to time. It’s what makes us human, and only a fool would deny they never experience the dread of battle. But a true warrior faces his fear. Conquers it. Makes it his constant companion. Only then can we appreciate our own mortality and the value of what it is we fight for.

 

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Cowardice, and a refusal to think of your brothers in battle. Such a man is a weak link in times of crisis and often gets those around him killed. I’m glad to say, the ranks of the Ninth Legion have been purged of such dross, and we remain true to our tenet of steadfast service.

 

Which living person do you most admire?

Commander Saul Cameron – if indeed he still lives – for he shepherded countless thousands of refugees from Earth through a relentless siege and gave them, and the future of Arden, a fighting chance to be reborn anew.

 

What is your current state of mind?

Obviously, I am under a great deal of stress. To be plucked from your life and deposited on an entirely different planet to fight somebody else’s battle once, is enough in my books. To find it has happened to us again? Well, I’m still trying to get my head around the implications of that, especially as we now have the integrity of our own historical timeline to consider. You have a saying in the future: “Walking on eggshells?” I think that sums my predicament up rather well, as I constantly have to juggle the needs of the future against those of keeping my men alive.

 

Which living person do you most despise?

The turncoat, James Houston. Like us, he was snatched away from a normal life and placed here under extraordinary pressure. A supposed officer and a gentleman, he has done nothing but scheme and plot to use this nightmare to his own advantage. He is not only a coward, but a murderer who lacks the slightest ounce of honor. He’d see every one of us dead, just to extend his life for just one day. I’ll not give him that opportunity, and will see him ended if it’s the last thing I do.

 

What is the quality you most like in a man?

A willingness to do his best, whatever the circumstances, and to work as part of a team.

 

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“By Pluto’s Beard.” During the Gaul campaign, I was badly injured and at death’s door for two months. I kept the god of the underworld at bay by cursing him to his face, a habit I’ve continued since then whenever I face dangerous or frustrating situations.

 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Ha! I’d have applied to join the Eighth Legion. Perhaps then I’d have been able to settle in southern Gaul as I’d always wanted. Failing that, perhaps the Praetorian Guard? Caesar Hadrian seemed to like me enough when he bestowed the golden torc upon me. If only I’d taken him up on his offer before all this mess started.

 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I kept the majority of my men alive at the Battle of the Line in Rhomane City. Mere hundreds of us faced thousands upon thousands of Horde demons. But we showed them the mettle of the legion. Tempered in fire, we were forged anew and broke them. Since then, every one of us is closer than blood, and every one of us are willing to give our all if the need arises.

 

What is your favorite occupation?

I am – or should I say, was – rather fond of the pilot training I received after my arrival on Arden. I know the nano-bots inside my bloodstream help to augment my understanding and comprehension, but the wonders of soaring higher than an eagle could ever go never ceases to amaze me. Think about it. From what I have learned since my arrival on Arden, people from my time could only gaze at the stars in the night sky and wonder. This adventure may have torn me away from home, but now my battlefield exists among those very stars. And I get to see them for what they are…suns of infinite magnitude and majesty, many possessing other planets in which life teems in its myriads. Such treasures we’re beyond the imagination of those from my era. And here I am, living a dream in reality.

 

What is your most marked characteristic?

Despite my elevation to general, I still show regard for the common man and am willing to listen – and indeed value – the opinions of others, even when they differ from my own. Fortunate, I might be. Omniscient, I’m not. Listening to the insights of others has saved my skin on more than one occasion, and after all these years, I don’t intend to stop now.

 

What do you most value in your friends?

Their unflinching calmness in the face of chaos. Those closest to me have shared the crucible of battle and been flensed of pretense. My new friends from Arden have likewise faced many trials and tribulations. Such provide a great deal of support and source of wisdom when I need it most.

 

How would you like to die?

If I’m not extended the opportunity of growing old and fat, I hope I die making a difference. Elysian Fields or no, as long as my death has meaning, I’ll be satisfied.

 

IXExordium-Large

 

Title: Exordium of Tears.

Author: Andrew P. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction.

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Book Blurb:

Fight or die.

That simple yet brutal reality is the tenet by which the refugees from Earth – including the fabled lost 9th Legion of Rome; the 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Cavalry Unit; and the Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Team – were forced to live by while the Horde menace existed. Believing that the threat is over, the survivors now yearn to settle down, start families, and reclaim the lives stolen from them.

But such aspirations might remain beyond their reach, for a shadow looms on the rose-tinted horizon of new beginnings.

The release of the re-genesis matrix has done much to foster a restoration of exuberance across Arden. Along with a resurgence in floral and faunal diversity comes the results of splicing the Ardenese and human genomes: transmutation. A metamorphosis of stunning magnitude that not only affects the living, but those still is stasis as well.

Recognizing the emergence of a new hybrid species, the Architect – the arcane AI construct tasked with the preservation of the Ardenese race – responds by unlocking previously hidden and inaccessible areas of the city. It also releases an archive of sealed state secrets. Such revelations are eagerly perused, whereupon a shocking discovery is made.

Prior to the fall, it was common knowledge amongst the Senatum (the highest levels of Arden’s government) that not all the rabid Horde had joined in the rampage across the stars toward Arden.

Realizing that the peril still exists, the newly reformed administration elects to respond in earnest. Existing resources are utilized, suitable candidates are chosen, and a flotilla of ships is sent out to secure, quarantine, and reclaim the outer colonies.

A mammoth and hazardous undertaking. And nowhere more so than at the planet from where the outbreak was known to have originated – Exordium – for there, the ancient Horde are not only supremely evolved and highly organized, but are capable of a level of lethal sophistication, the likes of which has never been witnessed before.

It is into this kiln of incendiary potential that the cream of Arden’s fighting forces is deployed.

Worlds are torn asunder, suns destroyed, and star systems obliterated. Yes, tragedy is forged, in a universe spanning conflict which proves once again that…

Death is only the beginning of the adventure.

 

Excerpt:

His commanders moved away, passing on his orders. With smooth precision, the legion filed inside and fanned out to take up their respective positions.

Marcus followed. He hadn’t taken more than twenty paces when he noticed a soft crackling underfoot. He glanced down and saw a brittle ivory powder covering the floor in a light dusting.

Did the re-genesis matrix manage to percolate down through the barriers? Amazing. It’ll make our job a damned sight easier if it did.

Putting that hope out of his mind, he concentrated instead on the hazards presented by their surroundings. Even after the third centuria left for their designated positions, breathing room was tight. So closely packed were the stalagmites and stalactites that he and his men were constantly squeezing between petrified tears, and the endless weave and bob soon grew exhausting. What’s more, their only light came from random illuminations cast by the drones or their helmet-cams. When these caught exposed facets of rock, the gloom was transposed by scintillant prismatic aspirations that only served to confound the eye.

Strange, how in a place and at a time like this, beauty can be an unwanted distraction.

Undeterred, they pressed forward, dogged, cautious.

Five minutes later, the telltale gleam of an energy barrier came into view. More than ten yards across and eighteen feet high, the huge blockade loomed at the exact point where the maze ended and the Cathedral narrowed into a natural chokepoint.

And beyond, we finally come to the end of our journey.

Vergilius snapped his fingers and his men deployed, adopting a series of defensive formations in preparation for the assault. Behind them, members of the first centuria completed final weapons checks.

“General,” someone hissed, “come and look at this.”

A group of soldiers to his left stood by a small fissure. From his position, the entrance was difficult to see, for it was shrouded in darkness and bent back in on itself. As Marcus strode toward them, the crunching sound beneath his feet became louder. He looked more closely, and got the impression that he walked on broken shards of discarded porcelain vessels.

He reached the crevice and peered inside to find a modest-sized antre. Except this was no fairytale grotto. It was full of bones.

Thigh bones, rib bones, pelvic bones. Femurs, fibulae, tibiae. And skulls. Skulls lay everywhere. Some were intact and grinning insanely, as if delighted at the prospect of a friendly face after an eternity of isolation; others lay in ruins, fragmented or crushed into dust. Only then did Marcus realize what they’d all been stepping on.

Of course, they must have fled here in their numbers during the initial outbreak, hoping to escape the madness. But they were found . . . and by berserkers too, from the look of it.

He studied the way the remains had been shattered and strewn about.

Not content to simply devour the essence of their victims, the monsters must have torn everyone apart, perhaps to enhance the flavor of their meal with terror?

In his mind’s eye, Marcus tried to reenact the scene.

Even so, it hurt to imagine the insatiable hunger of frenzied fiends as they rampaged, and the inevitable reaction of the helpless colonists as their flight led them here to their doom.

And they couldn’t have realized their panic would act like a beacon, drawing that doom toward them like moths to a flame. Except these moths were hulking great monstrosities driven by a craving so rabid it bordered on delirium.

Roars of glee, screams of terror. Flashing talons, primal cruelty. Severed limbs, tumbling in aerial display. Crimson orbs, glowering with lust. Ruby entrails, spilling gore. Glittering fangs and punctured jugulars, spraying blood in a fountain wash, staining ancient seams in the splith of human ruin.

An itch wormed its way up Marcus’s spine. He backed away and looked outside. The sense of unease was spreading: his hardened veterans glanced nervously from side to side. As they moved, their helmet lights sent peril reeling across the ceiling and cast flickering threats that made it appear as if danger lurked behind each column and within every shadow.

“Can you feel that?” Tiberius called.

The prickling intensified, and soon Marcus’s bowels were shuddering.

I’ve felt that sensation before.

“They’re coming,” Marcus bellowed. “Notify surface units and stand to.”

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Exordium-Tears-IX-Andrew-Weston/dp/0996428992

 

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exordium-Tears-IX-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01AAFEU6O

 

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exordium-of-tears-andrew-p-weston/1123449634?ean=9780996428996

 

Andrew Weston

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestsellers, The IX, and Hell Bound, (A novel forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with two of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for http://Astronaut.com  and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

 

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

 

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

Time-Travelling Author @WestonAndrew Divulges His Top 10 Films #Books


My name is Andrew P. Weston. I’m a time-travelling author from the future, hiding a dark and mysterious past, who currently finds himself kicking his heels in the present with nothing to do except study the cultural impact films have had on the many generations I’ve enjoyed visiting. Flitting back and forth through the spacetime continuum has its perks. Only last week, (thirty years from now), I was able to feast on such treats as: Star Wars XXIV – A Continuing Menace; The Fast and the Furiously Repetitive 19; and Die – Hard to Kill This Franchise Off.

 

Here are my top ten picks of worthy, thought provoking films from your era:

 

  1. Wuthering Heights – the original. Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. A timeless epic, capturing the mood of bitter angst, class division, inequality and all-consuming love.
  2. The King and I: Debora Kerr & Yul Brynner. You cannot beat the pomp and ceremony of the original. Fantastic setting. Brilliant cast. Awesome entertainment. “Shall we dance…?”
    Interesting Fact: Yul Brynner is one of only a handful of people ever to have won an Academy and Tony Award for the same role.
  3. The Forbidden Planet: Leslie Nielsen and Walter Pidgeon. Now this was decades ahead of its time. The forerunner for so many science fiction wannabes that never achieved the same standard.
  4.  The Ten Commandments: Charlton Heston. An absolute epic, and out of this world for special effects in its day. Far superior to later attempts to cover the same material…(And another film Yul Brynner popped up in? The sly old fox).
  5. Saving Private Ryan: Tom Hanks and a vast cast. Gritty, realistic. As an ex serviceman who has seen combat, it truly moved me, as I felt it accurately portrayed how cruel war can be, and how true heroes are forged. They’re just ordinary boys – and nowadays girls – from next door who answer the call, face their fears, and accomplish something extraordinary. Sadly, not all of them make it home. Never forget…we owe our freedom and liberty to their sacrifices.
  6. Way Out West: Laurel & Hardy. Good old-fashioned nostalgic fun. I love the tickling scene, and you can see Rosina Lawrence trying not to laugh and grinning from ear to ear when they recorded it. (I wonder how many takes that took.) And an excellent reminder that a truly entertaining film doesn’t need all the fancy gimmicks they have nowadays. Speaking of which…
  7. The Matrix: Keanu Reeves and many others. Outstanding.
    Interesting fact: You do know it explains the truth about reality, don’t you? We all have that feeling that something’s not quite…?
  8.  Bladerunner: Harrison Ford , Rutger Hauer and others. “I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe…” (But I don’t want to talk about what I did last weekend). The hidden subtext and moral dilemma this excellent noir sci-fi classic portrayed will – I’m sure – survive the test of time. A truly poignant film.
  9.  Grease: John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Don’t cringe…I know you can sing all the words to every song…exactly like I can J (Tell me more…?)
  10.  The Devil Wears Prada: Meryl Streep. Anne Hathaway. Emily Blunt. What can I say? I have an eye for things that will never go out of fashion. (Sniff, sniff… “Has one of today’s readers been eating an onion bagel?”

 

IXExordium-Large

 

Title: Exordium of Tears

Author: Andrew P. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: The Perseid Press

 

Book Blurb:

Fight or die.

 

That simple yet brutal reality is the tenet by which the refugees from Earth – including the fabled lost 9th Legion of Rome; the 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Cavalry Unit; and the Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Team – were forced to live by while the Horde menace existed. Believing that the threat is over, the survivors now yearn to settle down, start families, and reclaim the lives stolen from them.

 

But such aspirations might remain beyond their reach, for a shadow looms on the rose-tinted horizon of new beginnings.

 

The release of the re-genesis matrix has done much to foster a restoration of exuberance across Arden. Along with a resurgence in floral and faunal diversity comes the results of splicing the Ardenese and human genomes: transmutation. A metamorphosis of stunning magnitude that not only affects the living, but those still is stasis as well.

 

Recognizing the emergence of a new hybrid species, the Architect – the arcane AI construct tasked with the preservation of the Ardenese race – responds by unlocking previously hidden and inaccessible areas of the city. It also releases an archive of sealed state secrets. Such revelations are eagerly perused, whereupon a shocking discovery is made.

 

Prior to the fall, it was common knowledge amongst the Senatum (the highest levels of Arden’s government) that not all the rabid Horde had joined in the rampage across the stars toward Arden.

 

Realizing that the peril still exists, the newly reformed administration elects to respond in earnest. Existing resources are utilized, suitable candidates are chosen, and a flotilla of ships is sent out to secure, quarantine, and reclaim the outer colonies.

 

A mammoth and hazardous undertaking. And nowhere more so than at the planet from where the outbreak was known to have originated – Exordium – for there, the ancient Horde are not only supremely evolved and highly organized, but are capable of a level of lethal sophistication, the likes of which has never been witnessed before.

 

It is into this kiln of incendiary potential that the cream of Arden’s fighting forces is deployed.

 

Worlds are torn asunder, suns destroyed, and star systems obliterated. Yes, tragedy is forged, in a universe spanning conflict which proves once again that…

 

Death is only the beginning of the adventure.

 

Excerpt:

The cavern’s vaulted interior resonated with silence. More than a hundred yards wide, it was a natural feature etched from living rock by the slow and patient attrition of running water over thousands of years. As time passed the wellsprings ran dry, and the chamber gradually drained. Once barren, the cavity lay undiscovered for millennia until explorers from a faraway world happened upon it during their initial surveys prior to colonization.

Recognizing its value, those adventurers adapted the character of the gallery to suit their own purposes, transposing its simple grandeur into a wonderland of startling complexity and delight.

Yet even this transformation had been a long, long time ago, and for many years now the facility remained abandoned.

Although subdued, illumination was still afforded by a swarm of ethereal holographic constructs. Of unknown purpose, these nevertheless had been rigged to serve the mechanism dominating the cavern’s center.

Here, a circular dais more than twenty yards across rose from the floor. Above it, a pair of gleaming U-shaped collars hung suspended in midair. Each measured over fifty feet in length and were positioned so that their open arms bowed toward each other. Within the expanse of their embrace, a tear challenged the authority of spacetime itself. Appearing like a DNA helix, it slowly revolved around its own axis, warping reality to its will. A gentle breeze flowed toward the rent from each of the cavern’s exits, betraying the presence of a subtle vacuum.

Blip — blip — blip!

Harsh in the silence, a warning tone blurted from one of the control stations closest to the feature. Two adjacent projectors flickered to life. As their emitters focused on a condensed shimmering fog of ionized gas, a series of complex equations appeared. The beams intensified, and a stream of translucent symbols scrolled down the misty page.

“Anomaly detected,” a voice announced. “Please stand by . . .”

Background generators kicked in. A steady whine signaled the buildup of impressive potential.

“Target recognized and locked. Quantum tunnel initialized. Temporal sheath established. Safety overrides engaged . . .”

An oscillating tone added deeper counterpoints to the coalescing energies. Underlying vibrations increased dramatically. Static sparks jumped out to scratch at the invisible plane lurking between the brackets. Lightning flashed, once, twice, then the void yawned wide and a tornado of warped sensibilities bloomed forth in a churning bore that somehow encompassed both pelagic and volcanic attributes.

“Gateway activated. Spectral sensors primed. Data retrieval will commence in three, two, one . . . Downloading.”

A surrounding halo of ancillary equipment lent its weight to the process, and by its light hitherto unnoticed features of the chamber stood revealed.

Unlike the rest of the control center, a large area along the western periphery was free of equipment. Desks, cabinets, and scanners occupying that zone had been smashed to pieces and thrown to one side to make room for the assortment of power cables trailing along the floor and into a wide pool of gelatinous goo.

The air above the mucus shivered gently, as if wallowing in the heat of a welcome zephyr. No sooner had the wormhole stabilized than the undulating curtain flared into a confusing amalgam of Orphic contradiction. Strontium-red passion vied against a well of midnight gloom. Magnesium-silver flares rushed to counter all-consuming darkness. And finally, neon-blue tendrils of scorching hot plasma contended the threat of everlasting obscurity. Such was the frenzy of the outburst that the atmosphere itself bristled, and nearby metallic objects clanged together as they became magnetized.

Hidden at the very edge of the visible spectrum, a nest of nightmare apparitions languished in hibernation. The commotion had disturbed their repose and triggered an instinctive reaction. Roused to the verge of consciousness, their glittering fangs snapped imaginary necks. Steaming talons twitched toward phantom aggressors. Huge great jaws opened, and piercing howls joined together in a cacophony of spine-tingling complaint. Several pairs of eyes fluttered open and in that instant, an overwhelming sense of barely suppressed rage and rabid hunger flooded the cavern with the promise of certain death.

“Cycle completed,” the same automated voice intoned.

The combined resonance of multiple stations shutting down droned through the gallery.

“Geodesic anchors retracted. Astrophasic tracking nodes disengaged. Gravity locks releasing in three, two, one . . . Mark.”

The humming swarm abruptly cut off.

“Returning to passive-scan mode. Info-packet prepared. End run . . . Execute.”

The hovering screens went blank, and the control room was thrown into darkness once more.

Deprived of the source of their agitation, the beasts’ emotions cooled, and they were soon lulled back toward slumber. The energized cloud hovering above the ectoplasm continued to ripple awhile longer, but it too eventually subsided into inactivity.

All was as it had been before, except that now, a brooding, heightened state of watchfulness pervaded the ether.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Exordium-Tears-IX-Andrew-Weston/dp/0996428992

 

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exordium-Tears-IX-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01AAFEU6O

 

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exordium-of-tears-andrew-p-weston/1123449634?ean=9780996428996

 

Andrew Weston

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

 

An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestsellers, The IX, and Hell Bound, (A novel forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

 

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with two of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for http://Astronaut.com  and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Publisher: The Perseid Press

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

 

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

 

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

Mrs. N Couldn’t Put Down Exordium of Tears by @WestonAndrew! #ScienceFiction #Books #SFF


IXExordium-Large

 

Title: The IX – Exordium of Tears

Author: Andrew P. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

 

Book Blurb:

Fight or Die

That simple yet brutal philosophy is the tenet by which the refugees from Earth – including the fabled lost 9th Legion of Rome; the 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Cavalry Unit; and the Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Team – have been forced to live while the Horde menace existed. Believing that the threat is over, the survivors now yearn to settle down, start families, and reclaim the lives stolen from them.

But such aspirations might remain beyond their reach, for a shadow looms on the rose-tinted horizon of new beginnings.

The release of the re-genesis matrix has done much to foster a restoration of exuberance across Arden. Along with resurgence in floral and faunal diversity, comes the results of splicing the Ardenese and human genomes: transmutation; a metamorphosis of stunning magnitude that not only affects the living, but those still is stasis as well.

Recognizing the emergence of a new hybrid species, the Architect – the arcane AI construct tasked with the preservation of the Ardenese race – responds by unlocking previously hidden and inaccessible areas of the city. It also releases an archive of sealed state records.

Those secrets are pounced on and eagerly perused, whereupon a shocking discovery is made.

Prior to the fall, it was common knowledge amongst the Senatum – the highest levels of Arden’s government – that not all the Horde had joined in the rabid exodus toward home world, and the belief persisted that their enemy survived amongst the outer colonies.

Realizing the peril might still exist, the newly reformed administration elects to respond. Accessible resources are utilized, suitable candidates are chosen, and a flotilla of ships is sent out to secure, quarantine, and reclaim the outer colonies. A mammoth and hazardous undertaking. And nowhere more so than at the planet from where the outbreak was known to have originated – Exordium – for there, the ancient Horde are not only supremely evolved and highly organized, but are capable of a level of lethal sophistication, the likes of which has never been witnessed before.

It is into this kiln of incendiary potential that the cream of Arden’s fighting force is deployed.

Worlds are torn asunder, suns destroyed, and star systems obliterated. Yes, tragedy is forged anew, in a universe spanning conflict which proves once again that…

Death is only the beginning of the adventure.

 

Excerpt:

Wilson stirred. The deep, penetrating ache radiating through his shoulders and arms reminded him he was still tethered to the ceiling by chains. Sure enough, when he focused on them he could feel the telltale throb in his hands getting worse by the second.

 

A recurring problem, since he’d been bound so that his feet only just reached the flagstones. When exhaustion claimed him, his knees folded and his full weight pulled on his limbs, cutting off his circulation. Within minutes, the growing pain would tug him back to the misery of consciousness.

 

Although dry and free of decay, the cell stank of feces and urine. He opened his eyes to see a rare glimmer filtering through a small barred grill high in the door opposite him and illuminating the rest of the chamber. By its scant light Wilson could see Harper and Stark were still absent. Their manacles hung open, mocking him, foreboding.

 

His skull pounded as if a stage coach had been driven across his head. He took a few deep breaths, trying to clear his mind.

 

Screams from farther along the corridor outside dragged his sluggish consciousness back to his predicament. He straightened his legs and pain radiated through his joints, reminding him how badly his muscles had cramped. Before he could stop himself, he moaned aloud.

 

Goddamit!

 

Wilson bit his lip, trying to stifle the noise, but blood rushed to fill the capillaries of his fingers and caused him to groan even louder.

 

No! If they heard that they’ll know I’m awake and . . .

 

Too late.

 

A buzz issued from beyond the doorway. Ponderously heavy, the hatch cracked open. A wedge of light intruded, bathing him in light and making him squint.

 

Two forms flew through the air to land in a heap nearby. Wilson was horrified. His fellow prisoners had been only slightly older than he, yet the skeletal hands of decrepit old men now protruded limply from their ragged sleeves. Hollow eyes peered at him from blackened sockets. He glanced between them, their faces pleading for release with heartrending desperation. Moments later, both men gasped and flopped down onto the cold hard floor, where they lay still.

 

Harper! Stark! My God, what have they done to —?

 

An indistinct figure entered the cell, and Wilson cringed in horror. Roughly humanoid in shape, its pale sweating skin billowed and warped as if a ghost caged within was struggling to get free. When it undulated closer, Wilson was shocked to recognize this surging apparition was Joseph Mitchell, Second Company’s sergeant, and Houston’s ever-present minion. Or had been, once: whatever menaced Wilson wasn’t entirely human.

 

“Joe? What the hell happened to you?”

 

The scar on Mitchell’s cheek gave him a demonic air as he closed the gap between them.

 

Wilson could see that Mitchell’s eyes were black and wild; his hands opened and clenched repeatedly; he gasped to catch every breath.

 

“Are you all right, Joe?” Wilson was frantic to connect with anything that might still resemble camaraderie within the stricken soldier. “Is there anything I can do for you?”

 

“As a matter of fact, Lieutenant, there is.”

 

No!

 

Mitchell’s hand snaked out and grabbed Wilson by the hair, yanking him forward and lifting him clean off the floor, tearing open the scab from the wound on the back of his head in the process. Wilson whimpered in distress.

 

Jesus Christ! What is this freak going to do to me?

 

The next thing Wilson knew, something slammed against his ribs and fire erupted in his chest. He howled, long and hard.

 

“Stop now or die!”

 

The command was barely more than a rasping exhalation. Nonetheless, it had the desired effect, for Mitchell released his hold. Relief flooded Wilson’s system, only to be replaced by agony as the chains pulled taut, twisting his arms cruelly behind his back.

 

“I’ve told you before,” the voice continued, “he is off limits. How can we hope to fulfill our objective if we waste the advantage so recently gained?”

 

The former sergeant backed away and hissed in defiance.

 

“Don’t be stupid,” the unknown entity warned, “you’re nowhere near strong enough to challenge me. If I were you, I’d go help the others prepare for our departure. We have a narrow window of opportunity, and I can’t waste time in ill-disciplined charades.”

 

The mutated trooper moved toward the exit.

 

“But understand this. Ignore my orders again and you will be . . . removed. Now get out before I change my mind.”

 

Mitchell snarled in suppressed rage before fleeing the cell in a tumbling mass of shadows.

 

Wilson stared wide-eyed toward the doorway where his savior hovered.

 

It appeared to be studying him closely and chuckled quietly, a forced sound, devoid of warmth or humor. Darkness congealed around it in concentric waves, and Wilson was fascinated by the way its extremities flared and faded from sight in a confusing contest of refracted light and dense obscurity.

 

“How are you managing, my boy,” it crooned? “I do hope this current arrangement isn’t too restrictive?”

 

My boy?

 

Recognition coursed along Wilson’s spine. “Uncle James? Is that you?”

 

“It is. Or at least, it was. Now, I do believe I’m on my way to becoming someone else entirely; someone better, in fact.”

 

“What are you talking about?” Wilson was puzzled. “Anyone can see you’re ill, contaminated by something.” Rising panic clutched at his bowels, and he glanced toward his fallen comrades on the other side of the cell. “Are you going to try to infect me, like them and all the rest?”

 

“Oh no, no, no, dear boy. You’re far more valuable to me alive, healthy and intact.” Houston edged closer, a dreadful manifestation no longer a man. “Once you’ve served your purpose, however, I can’t honestly say what will happen to you, as I don’t think that will be up to me anymore.”

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Exordium-Tears-IX-Andrew-Weston/dp/0996428992

 

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exordium-Tears-IX-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01AAFEU6O

 

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exordium-of-tears-andrew-p-weston/1123449634?ean=9780996428996

 

Andrew Weston

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

 

An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestsellers, The IX, and Hell Bound, (A novel forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

 

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with two of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for http://Astronaut.com  and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

 

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

 

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

 

Worldbuilding – Keeping Things Real (Guest Post) by @WestonAndrew #writingtips #amwriting #SFF


IXbanner-ad_exordium - Large

 

Worldbuilding – Keeping Things Real: A Guest Post by International Best-Selling Author Andrew Weston

One of my “pet things” when it comes to writing, is what many people now refer to as, worldbuilding, the process of constructing an imaginary framework in which to set your adventure. What’s a shame is the fact that sometimes, authors don’t put enough effort into creating a setting for their stories, something that contain sufficient coherent qualities such as history, geography, ecology and suchlike. Yet, this is a key task, especially for novelists like me who concentrate on science fiction and fantasy.

 

So, how do I do it?

 

I usually begin from the top down. What does that mean? It means I devise a general overview of the world in which I’m going to set my creation and then I start working inwards. Here’s a broad example:

 
I begin by considering…where is the world situated? Who are its inhabitants and what is their history? What level of technology do they possess? What geographical features does their planet have how does this affect things like climate and skin tone?

 
Once I’ve determined those facets, I start to increase smaller details. Personally, I sketch out several maps or ship schematics, and refine them as I go along. It gives me a sense of time and scale, especially if different groups of protagonists and antagonists clash. I also find this method allows me to build well-integrated societies, which in turn, reflects a superior level of quality and realism within the story itself.

 

 

I also like to approach my creation from the perspective of a game. Why? Well, since the world I create will provide the foundation for everything that takes place in it – (my concept – the characters – all the various threads and plots I want to weave together) – I want to make sure it’s as sound as possible, and affords the reader the possibility of enchantment as they try to recreate my vision in their own minds. Yes, I want them to lose themselves in my imaginary world, I want them to connect and bring it to life.

 
To do this, I even go so far as to construct actual languages, flora and fauna, behavioral and migratory patterns. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t drown the reader in detail, but I have it ready – at my beck and call, so to speak – so I can add the little touches here and there that makes the narrative sparkle.

 

 

I like to think of my stories as rough diamonds. To begin with, I’ve got an absolute gem of an idea. But it’s rough and lackluster. I need to examine it closely and buff it up with worldbuilding. Decide what to cut and where to spend time grinding and polishing. As it gets into the final stages, I make sure each facet gleams and that there’s a depth and perspective you won’t see until you’ve viewed all the angles.

 

 

One of the main ingredients in my imaginary worlds is the “keep it real” ethic. I’m fortunate to be a Master of Astronomy. So, when I devise my fictional worlds, I base futuristic technology on the very latest theoretical science. Think about what’s been in the news over the past year or so: teleportation was the stuff of pure science fiction not so long ago, but now, scientists can transport quantum packets of information through the ether with remarkable clarity and accuracy; we can levitate objects; have artificial air scrubbers that make the foulest environment breathable; there are engines under development that researchers are sure will punch us to Mars in a matter of weeks, not months.

 
All these things help me stretch the imagination that little bit further, so my readers can seriously consider…“Yes, the citizens of Arden – thousands of years in advance of our own – use everyday constructs that we are only just delving into. I can believe that.” Once you establish the connection, you’ve got your readers hooked…

 
You see? Keeping things real helps reel them in.

 

IXexordium-box-ad-300x250

 

Title: Exordium of Tears

Author: Andrew P. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

 

Book Blurb:

Fight or die.

 

That simple yet brutal reality is the tenet by which the refugees from Earth – including the fabled lost 9th Legion of Rome; the 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Cavalry Unit; and the Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Team – were forced to live by while the Horde menace existed. Believing that the threat is over, the survivors now yearn to settle down, start families, and reclaim the lives stolen from them.

 

But such aspirations might remain beyond their reach, for a shadow looms on the rose-tinted horizon of new beginnings.

 

The release of the re-genesis matrix has done much to foster a restoration of exuberance across Arden. Along with a resurgence in floral and faunal diversity comes the results of splicing the Ardenese and human genomes: transmutation. A metamorphosis of stunning magnitude that not only affects the living, but those still is stasis as well.

 

Recognizing the emergence of a new hybrid species, the Architect – the arcane AI construct tasked with the preservation of the Ardenese race – responds by unlocking previously hidden and inaccessible areas of the city. It also releases an archive of sealed state secrets. Such revelations are eagerly perused, whereupon a shocking discovery is made.

 

Prior to the fall, it was common knowledge amongst the Senatum (the highest levels of Arden’s government) that not all the rabid Horde had joined in the rampage across the stars toward Arden.

 

Realizing that the peril still exists, the newly reformed administration elects to respond in earnest. Existing resources are utilized, suitable candidates are chosen, and a flotilla of ships is sent out to secure, quarantine, and reclaim the outer colonies.

 

A mammoth and hazardous undertaking. And nowhere more so than at the planet from where the outbreak was known to have originated – Exordium – for there, the ancient Horde are not only supremely evolved and highly organized, but are capable of a level of lethal sophistication, the likes of which has never been witnessed before.

 

It is into this kiln of incendiary potential that the cream of Arden’s fighting forces is deployed.

 

Worlds are torn asunder, suns destroyed, and star systems obliterated. Yes, tragedy is forged, in a universe spanning conflict which proves once again that…

 

Death is only the beginning of the adventure.

 

Excerpt:

The cavern’s vaulted interior resonated with silence. More than a hundred yards wide, it was a natural feature etched from living rock by the slow and patient attrition of running water over thousands of years. As time passed the wellsprings ran dry, and the chamber gradually drained. Once barren, the cavity lay undiscovered for millennia until explorers from a faraway world happened upon it during their initial surveys prior to colonization.

Recognizing its value, those adventurers adapted the character of the gallery to suit their own purposes, transposing its simple grandeur into a wonderland of startling complexity and delight.

Yet even this transformation had been a long, long time ago, and for many years now the facility remained abandoned.

Although subdued, illumination was still afforded by a swarm of ethereal holographic constructs. Of unknown purpose, these nevertheless had been rigged to serve the mechanism dominating the cavern’s center.

Here, a circular dais more than twenty yards across rose from the floor. Above it, a pair of gleaming U-shaped collars hung suspended in midair. Each measured over fifty feet in length and were positioned so that their open arms bowed toward each other. Within the expanse of their embrace, a tear challenged the authority of spacetime itself. Appearing like a DNA helix, it slowly revolved around its own axis, warping reality to its will. A gentle breeze flowed toward the rent from each of the cavern’s exits, betraying the presence of a subtle vacuum.

Blip — blip — blip!

Harsh in the silence, a warning tone blurted from one of the control stations closest to the feature. Two adjacent projectors flickered to life. As their emitters focused on a condensed shimmering fog of ionized gas, a series of complex equations appeared. The beams intensified, and a stream of translucent symbols scrolled down the misty page.

“Anomaly detected,” a voice announced. “Please stand by . . .”

Background generators kicked in. A steady whine signaled the buildup of impressive potential.

“Target recognized and locked. Quantum tunnel initialized. Temporal sheath established. Safety overrides engaged . . .”

An oscillating tone added deeper counterpoints to the coalescing energies. Underlying vibrations increased dramatically. Static sparks jumped out to scratch at the invisible plane lurking between the brackets. Lightning flashed, once, twice, then the void yawned wide and a tornado of warped sensibilities bloomed forth in a churning bore that somehow encompassed both pelagic and volcanic attributes.

“Gateway activated. Spectral sensors primed. Data retrieval will commence in three, two, one . . . Downloading.”

A surrounding halo of ancillary equipment lent its weight to the process, and by its light hitherto unnoticed features of the chamber stood revealed.

Unlike the rest of the control center, a large area along the western periphery was free of equipment. Desks, cabinets, and scanners occupying that zone had been smashed to pieces and thrown to one side to make room for the assortment of power cables trailing along the floor and into a wide pool of gelatinous goo.

The air above the mucus shivered gently, as if wallowing in the heat of a welcome zephyr. No sooner had the wormhole stabilized than the undulating curtain flared into a confusing amalgam of Orphic contradiction. Strontium-red passion vied against a well of midnight gloom. Magnesium-silver flares rushed to counter all-consuming darkness. And finally, neon-blue tendrils of scorching hot plasma contended the threat of everlasting obscurity. Such was the frenzy of the outburst that the atmosphere itself bristled, and nearby metallic objects clanged together as they became magnetized.

Hidden at the very edge of the visible spectrum, a nest of nightmare apparitions languished in hibernation. The commotion had disturbed their repose and triggered an instinctive reaction. Roused to the verge of consciousness, their glittering fangs snapped imaginary necks. Steaming talons twitched toward phantom aggressors. Huge great jaws opened, and piercing howls joined together in a cacophony of spine-tingling complaint. Several pairs of eyes fluttered open and in that instant, an overwhelming sense of barely suppressed rage and rabid hunger flooded the cavern with the promise of certain death.

“Cycle completed,” the same automated voice intoned.

The combined resonance of multiple stations shutting down droned through the gallery.

“Geodesic anchors retracted. Astrophasic tracking nodes disengaged. Gravity locks releasing in three, two, one . . . Mark.”

The humming swarm abruptly cut off.

“Returning to passive-scan mode. Info-packet prepared. End run . . . Execute.”

The hovering screens went blank, and the control room was thrown into darkness once more.

Deprived of the source of their agitation, the beasts’ emotions cooled, and they were soon lulled back toward slumber. The energized cloud hovering above the ectoplasm continued to ripple awhile longer, but it too eventually subsided into inactivity.

All was as it had been before, except that now, a brooding, heightened state of watchfulness pervaded the ether.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Exordium-Tears-IX-Andrew-Weston/dp/0996428992

 

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exordium-Tears-IX-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01AAFEU6O

 

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exordium-of-tears-andrew-p-weston/1123449634?ean=9780996428996

 

Andrew Weston

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

 

An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestsellers, The IX, and Hell Bound, (A novel forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

 

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with two of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for http://Astronaut.com  and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

 

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

 

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

 

 

Meet Best-Selling Author Andrew P. Weston @WestonAndrew #BookPromo #SFF #Interview


I seriously have the best job in the world. I get to meet authors from around the world and interview them. I never know where the conversation will take us but I know I’m always in for an adventure. Such is the case with my meeting Andrew. Take a look at his picture and he looks like someone you wouldn’t want to meet in an alley: intimidating, serious and a steely gaze. But underneath that lies a funny, sometimes wacky guy. So, please sit down, grab your favorite beverage and get to know Andrew P. Weston. Take it away, Andrew: 

 

What is your writing process?

Some might think my writing process is quite laborious or complex, as it incorporates a great deal of preparation prior to ever putting fingers to keypad, so I’ll simplify it – hopefully – by briefly explaining what I did for The IX Series.

 

Having devised a concept, I undertook roughly three months of in-depth research. Once completed, I then reworked that material, but this time, targeted specifics and looked how I could blend all the disparate parts together. (Don’t forget, in the IX Series, there’s a complex evolution of Roman Legionaries, US cavalry troopers, near-future British Special Forces, alien worlds and advanced technology brought together in a crucible of war). Obviously, such a mass of information required a thorough world building phase, by which I ensured to balance science fiction with current – and theoretical – science fact.
I know that sounds a lot, but putting the effort in before you actually start writing, pays dividends later. It gives you a solid foundation on which to build, and a wealth of information that you can dip into when you need to add depth and clarity to all sorts of little facets that will make your overall project shine.

 

To ensure this happens, I adopt a multi-layered “flow chart” approach, using bubbles or complete sheets of paper.

 

The launch is quite simple. I have my theme, the beginning, end, and ports of call along the way that the plot-line will need to visit. Each of those gets its own bubble.
Now I start to add detail. As the next wave progresses, each major bubble is divided into its own subsection, containing major and minor modules. Every one of them helps develop the current I want the story to follow, along with the subsidiary threads I need to weave in and out and through the text to help the plot and characters flow together smoothly.

 

My main chart starts to look like a many-footed spider/water skimmer. (Get the idea?) But it ensures I stay focused on what the story is all about, and helps me develop components that add depth, width, height and texture to the world I’m creating.

 

I enjoy using this method because stories often take on life all of their own. As the process unfurls, you think of additional ideas, twists and turns. When that happens, I can look to my spider web network of bubbles and see how and when new facets can be added in, or – as sometimes happens where you need to ensure continuity – where it might be better to adjust an earlier scene to graft your fresh thought into the story-line properly. I like my adventures to flow.

 

This technique works for me, and ensures the plot-line stays free of eddies or logjams.

 

As I say, it sounds complicated, but it’s a method I always use. Then, by simply devising a schedule, and ensuring to complete a unit every day, I am able to complete lengthy novels in six months or less.

 

When it comes to formatting, I carry out a light edit at the end of every chapter, and then complete a more thorough edit and style check upon completion of an entire first draft. Then it’s off to our real editor smiles and a celebratory glass of Smirnoff Black before we start picking everything to bits.

 

 

Do you have any odd writing habits?

I know some authors love to listen to music, or have other things going on in the background, but me? I need silence. Without it, the magic doesn’t flow.

 

What book do you wish you could have written?

Good question. The answer? To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

 

I don’t know about you, but a tiny part of me imagines what it would be like to ever only have to write one book. This wonder of a novel took the globe by storm: films; Broadway and the West End; part of the school curriculum all over the world. (I actually studied this story for college exams in the UK back in the 70’s).

 

And what a story it was. I loved the mood and mystery of it and the way it dared to touch on prejudices and perceptions that are just as valid today as they were then: class; race; tolerance; and the loss of innocence. Superb. No wonder Harper Lee left off completing a sequel for so many decades.

 

 

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?

My goodness, another excellent question. Although I’m a science-fiction aficionado, and astronomy and physics graduate, I’m widely read, and over the years have gained inspiration from all sorts of places.
We could be here all day, so I’ve listed just a few of them:

 

A Fall of Moondust – Arthur C. Clarke: An excellent short story for its time, that presented the dangers of traveling into space – albeit our nearest neighbour – in a very realistic way. It’s not all shiny spacesuits and pristine ships. When things go wrong, will we be prepared?
(A thing to ponder on as we stand at the cusp of true space exploration).

 

I Robot – Isaac Asimov: My, oh my. Now there’s a topic that’s going to become ever more prevalent in the next few decades as technological sophistication increases beyond what we’ve ever imagined. Many think of The Terminator or The Matrix when perilous AI matrices run amok. But I Robot did it first, and decades before either of them. smiles

 

Animal Farm & Nineteen Eighty-Four– George Orwell: A superb example of someone who wasn’t afraid to use allegorical text to expose the deeply-embedded shortcomings continuing to plague society in general. We can still learn a lot from such illuminated minds…talking of which…

 

The Fall of the House of Usher – and many, many other works – Edgar Allen Poe: The workings of a dark and troubled mind revealed in all its genius. I’ve published quite a bit of poetry myself, and so far as I’m concerned, Poe is the source muse of some of the most exquisite torment available today – this side of a padded cell. Come swing with me in insanity…Brilliant.

 

A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawkin: I could read his work for hours. (And do, actually). Informative, imaginative, innovative, and inspirational.

 

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever – Stephen R. Donaldson: A Master wordsmith and demigod of the slow build-up.

 

 

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

To have my work recognized by Nebula Award winners and some of the leading lights of speculative fiction (Black Gate Fantasy, Amazing Stories, Fanboy Comics, This Dark Matter, Epicstream) and then to be compared to such greats as, Robert A. Heinlein, Jerry Pournelle, and Gordon Dickson.
A great honor that also brings a great deal of pressure with it, but it spurs me on to excel nonetheless.

 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Writing full time and keeping my publisher – Janet Morris at Perseid Press – overwhelmingly busy, but very happy. smiles

 

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Don’t be afraid of taking risks and developing your own unique style. Allow others to hear your distinctive voice. Then work closely with your publisher and editor in striving for excellence.

 

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I’ve found a combination of both works for me. I research and plan meticulously before I begin to write. (I’m already world building a future work that I won’t even get to for at least 18 months).
But, as I’ve often found, as each story develops a character all of its own, it also generates a distinctive current. I’ve learned to allow that current to take where it will, and have enjoyed all sorts of unexpected plot twists and turns because of it. Great fun.

 

Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)

Exordium of Tears is my third novel for Perseid Press, (and the second book of The IX Series). I’ve also contributed to two of their anthologies within the Heroes in Hell shared universe. So far, each of my novels managed to reach #1 internationally. I hope to continue that trend as my writing improves.

 

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

At this very moment, I’m about halfway (75K) through the concluding story of the first IX trilogy. After that, I’ll be onto the final book of another trilogy I devised detailing the exploits of Daemon Grim, Satan’s chief bounty hunter and go-to guy in times of need. As well as being despicably dark and dangerous, it’s full of fast and furious fun.
That one doesn’t have a series name as each novel forms part of Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell shared universe. I look on such an inclusion as a great honour, as you can only contribute by invitation and the Heroes in Hell stable includes Hugo Award winners and Nebula nominees.

 

An interesting point of note, is when Janet saw my work and extended an invitation to write for her, we devised a concept by which Daemon Grim’s adventures would leapfrog the yearly Heroes in Hell anthologies.
For example, Grim was introduced to the world in 2015 in Doctors in Hell. The exploits contained in Hell Bound – the first Reaper novel – follow on directly after Doctors. This year’s anthology – Pirates in Hell – takes place in the three months following the events described in Hell Bound. So you get the idea. We thought it would be a nice way to introduce a new character into a long-established universe, and so far, it looks to have proven worth the juggling.

 

Do you write naked?

Only if you call baring your soul in prose, writing naked?

 

What is the biggest fib you’ve ever told?

That I was Patrick Stewart’s butt stunt double. “Make it so…and make it slappy.”

 

Have you ever been in trouble with the law?

Actually…yes I have. I served in the UK’s Special & Elite Forces for nine years. After leaving the military, I became a cop. Because of my previous occupation, I was chosen to work undercover quite a few times. It seems I was rather convincing in whatever role I needed to play, because whenever we initiated a sting involving other officers from out of area who didn’t know me, I would be one of the first guy’s they’d jump on and arrest. (And my mother thought I had such an honest face). You ought to see some of the arrest photos smiles
“But officer…It wasn’t me; it was the one-armed man…”

 

Have you ever gotten into a fight?

As a child, less times than you’d think. I came from a disciplined background/family, you see, and was into a lot of pre and after school sports.

By far the biggest influence on my life was from the family of my best friend growing up, Lei. His father was from Japan, and his mother, China. (People don’t realize how unusual such a marriage was in the 60’s). They introduced me to true martial arts at the tender age of just 5, and I ended up becoming very involved in one disciple in particular. (Just enter a Google search under Andrew Paul Weston – Ju Jitsu – You’ll get a shock smiles) It kept me out of a lot of trouble…until I was an adult, then the government paid me a lot of money to be aggressive on their behalf. (Ah, the life insurance business isn’t what it used to be).

 

Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?

I’ve never smoked. I enjoy vodka at the end of every book I write, and on special occasions, (Or when England and Wales play the noble sport of rugby). And my biggest vice is…I spend a fortune feeding stray cats, and have adopted quite a few of them, (especially over here in Greece where morons like to use them as target practice). All together now…aaaah!

 

What do you want your tombstone to say?

The one that got away.

 

What literary character is most like you?

The Mad Hatter.

 

What secret talents do you have?

I can hold my breath until it hurts.

 

What’s on your bucket list (things to do before you die)?

To find the secret of eternal life and unashamed beauty.

 

Do you have any scars? What are they from?

Sadly, I have many of them and they’re all over my body. As I mentioned, I served in a specialized military role, after which I became a police officer. I have been shot, stabbed, slashed, blown up and spoken to in a harsh and derogatory fashion by some of the nastiest people you could ever wish NOT to meet. You amass a few scars along the way. I lived to tell the tale, and even picked up a few more in hospital recovering. smiles Fortunately, I love hospital food.

Unfortunately, doctors discovered I have a resistance to morphine based pain control…Just as well I still have my teddy bear from when I was a baby boy…(A man needs something to hold onto when he cries) Hee hee.

 

What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?

Utterly charming. You’d want to take me home.
And my favourite toy was the above teddy. (It caused a few minor scuffles when I got to my teens, but what the heck?)
His name? Ted. Yes, I put a tremendous amount of thought into naming him.

 

What do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

Actually, you’ve touched on a subject very dear to my heart.
From a very early age I’ve been able to control and manipulate my dreams.
I don’t know if that’s anything to do with growing up in an honest-to-God, haunted house as a child, or the fact that I’m plain and simple weird. In any event, what I’m about to say is fact.

 

My recurring dreams started not long after we moved into the aforementioned house. I was 3, and by the end of the first week, I knew I’d fallen asleep by the fact that I’d find myself gliding along a darkened, underground passage full of staring glowing eyes. The corridor was damp, overgrown with moss, and whispering voices would call out to me, asking, “Who are you, what’s your name? What do you want?” over and over again. I could feel the slightest brush of fingertips graze along the back of my clothing and hair. At first, it was like a nightmare, because I knew as long as I kept looking forward, I’d be alright.

Eventually, I’d reach the end of the tunnel and I’d fly out into the night from the back of the house into whatever adventure my subconscious had stored up for me.

 

But here’s the thing. My dreams would start in the exact same way, each and every night. And it went on this way for a couple of years.

 

As I got older, my later dreams became darker, too, and I’d be chased by what I called the spinning blades.

 

If you look at the triskelion emblem used by the Isle of Man (A small island off the coast of England) you’ll get an idea what I’m talking about. Except that the three legs of this thing were covered in blades – much like those on a chainsaw.

 

Anyway, I’d be having a normal dream, and this thing would appear out of nowhere and begin pursing me wherever I went. No matter how far or fast I went, it was always right behind.
That fun addition went on for several more years.

 

One day – I think I was about 8 at the time – I’d had enough. In the tunnel, I made a conscious effort to stop my forward motion and turned around to face whatever kept calling out to me. For the first week or so, the voices fell silent and the eyes would simply stare back. Then I decided to run at the eyes. When I did that, they fled.

 

Enjoying my success, I plucked up the courage to do the same with the spinning blades. Sure enough, they shattered the first time I turned to confront them.

 

After that, the eyes and blades only ever came if I felt the need of a bit of excitement. (You know the way cats like to run after each other?) Sometimes, I’d feel like a bit of a chase, and ended up enjoying thrill after thrill as I overcame whatever obstacles were in my way and the blades just behind. (In the end, I’d will 3 or 4 different sets into being at the same time).

 

Yes, it sounds a strange thing for a child to enjoy, but I loved going to bed and getting into the dream environment where I could control much of what happened.

 

Years later, I can still control the subject and content of my dreams. I enjoy recurring adventures, and live through many of the scenes I write about.
Interesting fact: I have actually devised a series of novels from a concept created whilst asleep.

 

(As for events in the haunted house? That’s another story)

 

IXExordium-Large

 

Title: The IX – Exordium of Tears

Author: Andrew P. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

 

Book Blurb:

Fight or die.

 

That simple yet brutal reality is the tenet by which the refugees from Earth – including the fabled lost 9th Legion of Rome; the 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Cavalry Unit; and the Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Team – were forced to live by while the Horde menace existed. Believing that the threat is over, the survivors now yearn to settle down, start families, and reclaim the lives stolen from them.

 

But such aspirations might remain beyond their reach, for a shadow looms on the rose-tinted horizon of new beginnings.

 

The release of the re-genesis matrix has done much to foster a restoration of exuberance across Arden. Along with a resurgence in floral and faunal diversity comes the results of splicing the Ardenese and human genomes: transmutation. A metamorphosis of stunning magnitude that not only affects the living, but those still is stasis as well.

 

Recognizing the emergence of a new hybrid species, the Architect – the arcane AI construct tasked with the preservation of the Ardenese race – responds by unlocking previously hidden and inaccessible areas of the city. It also releases an archive of sealed state secrets. Such revelations are eagerly perused, whereupon a shocking discovery is made.

 

Prior to the fall, it was common knowledge amongst the Senatum (the highest levels of Arden’s government) that not all the rabid Horde had joined in the rampage across the stars toward Arden.

 

Realizing that the peril still exists, the newly reformed administration elects to respond in earnest. Existing resources are utilized, suitable candidates are chosen, and a flotilla of ships is sent out to secure, quarantine, and reclaim the outer colonies.

 

A mammoth and hazardous undertaking. And nowhere more so than at the planet from where the outbreak was known to have originated – Exordium – for there, the ancient Horde are not only supremely evolved and highly organized, but are capable of a level of lethal sophistication, the likes of which has never been witnessed before.

 

It is into this kiln of incendiary potential that the cream of Arden’s fighting forces is deployed.

 

Worlds are torn asunder, suns destroyed, and star systems obliterated. Yes, tragedy is forged, in a universe spanning conflict which proves once again that…

 

Death is only the beginning of the adventure.

 

 

Excerpt:

Parked in geostationary orbit above a lifeless world, the vessel was a testimony to cultural and technological innovation. Sleek, vast, and lethal, she hung like the Titan she was; a leviathan sleeping amid a sea of infinite possibilities. Myriad stars bore witness to her majesty, and although each one glittered fiercely, none could lift the invasive chill leaching like death through the very constitution of her bones.

 

Within, a petrified forest of metal, fabric, and thermoplastic polymers slumbered.

 

Here, a coffee cup perched precariously on the edge of a counter, its flash-frozen contents discarded and forgotten long, long ago. There, a simple paper notebook hung suspended in the void above a set of stairs, as if waiting for the moment gravity would send it on its way toward the deck below. Between them, an ornate pen spiraled lazily by, captive to inertia, doomed to bounce endlessly back and forth between the bulkheads until an outside force intervened to stop its lonely, acrobatic sojourn. An all pervading hush dominated, enveloping the interior in a resonance that was absolute, and time dragged inexorably on. . .

 

A sophisticated-looking device situated close to the main communications array suddenly illuminated, and a series of complex glyphs fluttered silently across the gap in the air above it. Soon the space was filled with blazing icons curling around one another in a never-ending Möbius loop, until its phantom cursor came to rest in the bottom right-hand corner, blinking rapidly, awaiting further instructions.

 

Adjoining speakers squawked to life. A burst of static followed, signaling the receipt of a compressed data package. Then everything went blank, the process halted as abruptly as it had begun.

 

Silence reigned once more.

 

Bip — bip — bip — bip — bip — bip.

 

A larger console activated, and a cluster of master codes appeared within the display. As each cipher scrolled down the screen, it triggered redundant systems that had lain dormant for an age.

 

Lights winked on. A background hum lifted above the electronic chatter. A subtle vibration ran the length of the craft. Floating objects crashed to the floor and lay still. Empty halls and corridors thrummed with growing potential. Interior illumination dulled to a soft background radiance.

 

Pssssssssssst!

 

A hissing sound issued from the vents as pressure seals primed and engaged. Oxygen circulated once more.

 

A lotus-petal graphic flowered within the main holo-emitter, folding outward to be replaced by an overlapping series of ship’s schematics that quickly expanded off screen. One by one, oscillating star charts cascaded. Soon, the control center was awash in glittering green, scarlet, and royal blue phosphorescence.

 

“Arden home world located,” a female voice intoned, “security codes authenticated.”

 

“Caution! Time sensitive parameters breached.”

 

It sounded as if the entity was arguing with herself.

 

“Scanning for updates . . .”

 

“No fresh data available. Security protocol Coralin alpha-one, initiated. Homing beacon, activated. Full systems check. Accessing . . .”

 

“Internal sensors, online. Life signs, absent. Monitoring . . .”

 

“Emergency pods, present and intact. Anomalous energy signature detected. Isolation protocol instituted. Self destruct sequence prepped . . . Stand by.”

 

“Listing primary networks showing as fully functional. Life support, gravity core, weapons grid, deflectors, shields . . .”

 

“Propulsion diagnostics now complete. Maneuvering thrusters, sub-light engines, and rip-space drive standing by . . .”

 

“Security protocol Coralin alpha-one confirmed. Cold systems start in . . . Three, two, one. Primary burn commencing . . .”

 

At the rear of the behemoth nearly two miles away, a series of ruddy glows ignited deep within the bowels of the injector outlets. Power levels intensified. As they did so, the shimmering maelstrom divided to fill four giant nacelles.

 

With infinite grace, the huge cruiser moved out from the planet’s shadow cone. As she broached the solar penumbra, the sparkling iridescence of her matte black exterior flared as an ancient coating of rime blasted away into space, adding a shower of miniature diamonds to the gauze of eternal midnight.

 

Her speed increased, and she received a final signal.

 

Within minutes the vessel was gone, leaving behind only gravitational eddies resonating out into the void forever.

 

*

 

Ten hours and fifty light years in the opposite direction later, the onward transmission reached its mark. A dormant entity sparked to life, and once again a prolonged and complex group of ship’s systems came online.

 

Although similar in appearance, this craft was even larger than her sister, and had clearly been designed for one thing. Death.

 

Vector control skirts as wide as a sports stadium flared in response to the cataclysmic energies now thundering toward its main booster nozzles.

 

The colossus punched forward. As it did so, panels on its exterior surface shimmered, and the destroyer faded from sight.

 

Now invisible, it adjusted trajectory and set a course for home, four hundred and twenty trillion miles distant.

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Exordium-Tears-IX-Andrew-Weston/dp/0996428992

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exordium-Tears-IX-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01AAFEU6O

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exordium-of-tears-andrew-p-weston/1123449634?ean=9780996428996

 

Andrew Weston

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

 

An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestsellers, The IX, and Hell Bound, (A novel forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

 

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with two of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for http://Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

 

 

Social Media Links: 

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/